Resilience Linked to Social Satisfaction and Quality of Life, but Not Physical Function in MS, Other Diseases

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by Patricia Silva, PhD |

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Resilience in MS patients

Resilience, the ability of a person to cope with change and solve problems, is associated with satisfaction with social roles and quality of life in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) and other chronic diseases. However, it is not linked to a patient’s physical function, according to the results of a recent survey.

The article with the findings is titled “Resilience and function in adults with physical disabilities: an observational study,” and was published in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

MS can have a significant impact on emotions, not only because of the unpredictability of the disease course, but also because it affects parts of the brain that control mood. Therefore, understanding factors that promote resilience may help people with MS cope and adapt to unpredictable health changes.

To determine if resilience was linked with satisfaction with social roles, physical functioning, and quality of life, Samuel Battalio and colleagues at the University of Washington examined information from 1,574 people with MS and other chronic conditions, including muscular dystrophy, post poliomyelitis syndrome, or spinal cord injury.

The information was retrieved from surveys being conducted in the U.S. to track people in the nation who are aging with physical disabilities. Resilience was assessed using a validated clinical scale, and physical function, satisfaction with social roles, and quality of life were assessed with questionnaires.

After controlling for age, gender, diagnosis, psychological health and symptom severity, higher resilience was found to be significantly and positively associated with greater satisfaction with social roles and quality of life.

However, this relationship was slightly different between gender, with men who expressed greater levels of satisfaction with social roles reporting higher levels of resilience. Interestingly, resilience was not significantly greater in people who reported better physical function.

According to the researchers, these findings provide additional evidence indicating that resilience plays a unique role in non-physical functional outcomes among those with physical disabilities.

On its website, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society provides a resource for people with MS that promotes resilience through learning skills and habits and that may help patients “thrive in the face of adversity.” More information can be found here.

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