Individual Temperament Can Affect Health-Related Quality of Life of MS Patients, Study Shows

Individual Temperament Can Affect Health-Related Quality of Life of MS Patients, Study Shows

The temperament of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) can have a significant impact on their health-related quality of life, a study suggests.

The study, “Health-related quality of life in multiple sclerosis: temperament outweighs EDSS,” was published in the journal BMC Psychiatry.

MS patients’s quality of life can be influenced by their personality. In fact, one study showed that traits of introversion and neuroticism are associated with a lower health-related quality of life in MS patients. However, no studies have looked into the influence of temperament on health-related quality of life in MS patients.

Temperament is defined as an emotional, inherited, and temporally stable domain of personality that can be divided into five types — depressive, irritable, anxious, cyclothymic, and hyperthymic.

Depressive, irritable, and anxious temperaments are fairly self-explanatory. Cyclothymic refers to a mood disorder in which an individual experiences mood swings between short periods of mild depression and hypomania, or elevated mood. Hyperthymic temperament is a personality type that is characterized by an exceptionally positive mood and disposition.

Researchers at the Medical University of Vienna in Austria set out to determine whether different temperament types have an impact on the health-related quality of life in MS patients.

In total, 139 MS patients were recruited to participate in the study. Patients’ health-related quality of life was measured using a test called the Multiple Sclerosis International Quality of Life Questionnaire (MusiQol), their temperament was measured using the Temperament Evaluation of Memphis, Pisa, Paris, and San Diego Questionnaire — Münster version, and their disability was measured by the expanded disability status scale.

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Results indicated that known factors that affect health-related quality of life, such as disease duration, disability, psychiatric conditions, and immunomodulatory treatments, accounted for 30.9% of the proportion of variation in the MusiQol score.

Interestingly, the proportion of variation in the MusiQol score increased to 40.3% when taking into account the depressive temperament, 42.5% for cyclothymic, and 45.8% for hyperthymic temperaments. Irritable and anxious temperaments had no statistically significant influence.

Specifically, an increase in depressive and cyclothymic temperament scores were associated with a significantly reduced global score and, accordingly, a worse health-related quality of life.

In contrast, patients with a hyperthymic temperament had a significantly better MusiQoL score, indicating a better health-related quality of life.

“In MS patients, the depressive and cyclothymic temperament predict a lower and hyperthymic temperament an increased health-related quality of life, independent of current disability status, immunomodulatory treatments, and affective co-morbidities,” the researchers said.

“Prospective evaluation of temperament types in MS patients could help to identify patients early, who need more biopsychosocial support to booster quality of life,” they said. “Evaluating temperaments in MS may also support clinicians to better understand coping strategies, treatment adherence, and decisions on accepting possibly risky treatment options.”


  1. Carol says:

    Interesting research. I would describe my personality as hyperthymic, even though I have PPMS and a recent EEDS score of 7.5
    Having an even mood and a positive outlook on life denfinatley helps you cope with this condition.
    I’ve taken up painting, Volunteer for the MS Society, keep an active social life with friends and family.
    I’ve just got back from a cruise to France and Spain. I went up in a cable car over a conservation park in Spain! In my powered wheelchair! What have I got to loose. I have one life and won’t let my condition stop me. Live in the moment.

  2. Thank you for sharing. I can definitely see cleaer now. This article describes many of my MS condition and symptoms. Now, I can “pinpoint”, the mood and direction of my behavior, or course of it within.
    Sincerely and Respectfully,
    Sherry Lattimore

  3. Melanie says:

    Carol how fabulous!! I agree with you about everything! I also have PPMS. I was diagnosed with cyclothymic disorder 8 years ago, while in a manic phase. I’ve been in more depressive phases than manic, however, due to meds and mood stabilizers. Interestingly, and this is where I somewhat disagree with the article, for me, I’ve always been a positive person no matter what state I’m in! The proverbial glass has always been half full, which has made me resilient through dealing with MS, and the disabilities it causes. I enjoyed reading your comment. Uplifting!

  4. Sally says:

    When all else fails the power of a positive attitude may be the last thing you get to hold on to, so if you have one keep it and if you need help out of a dark place seek it! There are people out there that can help. I have had MS since 1993 and I continue to say as active as I can, and I also volunteer for the National MS Society. It is hard some days and I do cry sometimes, but I would miss so many things if I was not here. I also have family and friends and that is a blessing that I know some do not have and I hope those people reach out to volunteer groups. I wish all the best and much peace! Hugs 🙂

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