MS Study Uses Findings on Quality of Life Issues To Develop New Confidence-Building Intervention

MS Study Uses Findings on Quality of Life Issues To Develop New Confidence-Building Intervention

The major challenge patients with multiple sclerosis face is nearly constant muscle weakness and fatigue caused by progressive nerve and neurological damage. It is well established that these symptoms dramatically affect quality of life in MS patients, making it more difficult to work, partake in hobbies, and enjoy family and social interactions.

According to Matthew Plow, an assistant professor at Case Western Reserve University’s Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, patients with MS tend to feel significantly less confident as a result of their daily battle against the depressive and debilitating effects of the disease. With this insight, he and his research team plan to develop a new intervention that will help MS patients build confidence, enabling them to be more active and engaged in their daily life.

Plow and his team of researchers designed a study that sought to identify the factors that hindered MS patients from pursuing typical activities that they enjoy the most. They surveyed 335 patients with a median age of 53 years and asked them to rank 20 activities according to level of importance. On average, the patients in the study had been living with MS for 15 years and almost 60% confirmed they used some form of mobility aid.

The survey revealed the following activities as most important to MS patients: getting out and about, spending time with family and friends, managing bills and expenses, and participating in clubs and civic and political events. With this information in hand, the investigators thought of ways to help improve patients’ quality of life by first identifying the barriers to making improvements in lifestyle behaviors, which they found were hampered by issues that are well documented in the MS community: a lack of confidence, physical and mental impairments, and environmental factors.

The researchers concluded that because those with MS struggle daily with the disease’s debilitating symptoms, along with environmental factors such as inadequate social support and transportation, they tend to feel less optimistic about taking control of their condition and engaging in activities or lifestyle modifications that can improve their health. This lack of motivation can carry over to how motivated they are to cope with depression, lack of exercise, and poor nutrition.

From the findings of this survey, Plow and his team are now working on a new approach that can help MS patients rebuild their self-confidence in making more positive health and lifestyle decisions.  The new program provides MS patients with individual steps to make meaningful changes and learn new skills for engaging in activities that will help build confidence and independence. Plow believes that if his new intervention can put MS patients on a path toward feeling more confident in their ability to conduct daily lifestyle routines, that quality of live scores can improve for MS patients overall.


  1. Deborah Martens says:

    Time would be better spent developing items individuals could use to function better which would immediately imrove one’s confidence.

    • Shirley says:

      That would mean less money in their pockets. Why lose such a windfall for those highly paid neuros and upper management. Living off the sick keeps their QOL.

  2. Maggie says:

    (individual steps to make meaningful changes and learn new skills for engaging in activities that will help build confidence and independence.)

    I’m 36 and in a wheelchair due to the muscle weakness and stiffness from secondary progressive MS. I need an assistant other than my poor husband. Not a nurse, not a maid but an assistant to help me do my daily routine. The MS societies should be offering this to the people suffering with the disease they are suppose to be helping find a cure for. Figure out the cause first, offer us the ability to get regenerative medicine now. It’s been decades now using stem cells and it’s safe. Much safer than the DMD’s or DMT’s as their called now. Drugs to therapy now. It’s drugs folks! This is another reason I want Bernie Sanders for president. He’s the man that can regulate what big pharma is up to.

  3. Patricia says:

    Don’t think Bernie Sanders is going to make your life better. What youre saying when you support him is you support socialism which is a form of communism. Do you understand that? You want the government running your lives interfering into EVERYTHING that you do? You think you’re miserable now? Yes you’re right about the help we receive from these people who profess “MS Centers” with comprehensive care. They are best at helping themselves getting people on drugs so they can make money & having these symposiums that have no value to me or most of us. Now they are saying we are depressed because we have lost confidence. Damn right I’ve lost confidence in the system and all the BS and fraud at the expense of those that suffer. You want to help set up your MS Centers with the help we need like having PT, OT, general practitioners that are there for us to come to when we are sick. We need doctors who know how to treat people with MS. We have special needs and we don’t receive them. Plus we need social workers who can help manage our care making sure we get what we need. Basically there is nothing out there for us because we can’t make it OUT. Get it? Put someone in charge who will do for the patients not the pharmacutical companies!

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