The psychosocial impact of multiple sclerosis: Exploring the patient's perspective

David C. Mohr*, Leah P. Dick, David Russo, Jodi Pinn, Arne C. Boudewyn, William Likosky, Donald E. Goodkin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

207 Scopus citations


This study examined subjective patient experiences of the psychosocial consequences of multiple sclerosis (MS). Fifty patients were interviewed regarding the effects MS had on their lives and interpersonal relationships. These statements were collated and administered with a 5-point Likert scale to 94 MS patients. The responses were subjected to factor analysis. Three areas of subjective patient experience of the psychosocial consequences of MS emerged: demoralization, benefit-finding, and deteriorated relationships. Of particular interest was benefit-finding, which included a deepening of relationships, enhanced appreciation of life, and an increase in spiritual interests. Although benefit-finding was related to adaptive coping strategies such as positive reappraisal and seeking social support, it was unrelated to depression and was related to higher levels of anxiety and anger. These findings indicate that benefit-finding is a substantial and poorly understood part of the illness experience for MS patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)376-382
Number of pages7
JournalHealth Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 1999


  • Adjustment
  • Benefit-finding
  • Chronic illness
  • Coping
  • Multiple sclerosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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