Coping positively or negatively influences psychosocial and other outcomes in multiple sclerosis (MS), but there is conflicting evidence about the use of different coping strategies and their associations with demographic and disease characteristics. This according to a recent study that aimed to examine which coping strategies are used by a large sample of people with MS, and identify any associations between demographic and disease-related factors with use of individual coping strategies. Participants in the Trajectories of Outcomes in Neurological Conditions (TONiC) study (n=722) completed the Coping Orientations to Problems Experienced (COPE60) questionnaire. Researchers found:
- Of total patients, the most commonly used strategy was Acceptance, followed by Active Coping, Planning and Positive Reinterpretation, and Growth.
- All but 2 strategies showed significant associations with demographic and clinical characteristics.
- The most marked effects were found for Restraint, with people in employment 2.1 times as likely to utilize this strategy compared to those unemployed, and Seeking of Emotional Social Support and Focus on and Venting of Emotions, which were utilized twice as much by women compared to men.
- Behavioral and Mental Disengagement were highly associated with greater disability and not being employed.
Holland DP, Schlüter DK, Young CA, et al, on behalf of the TONiC study group. Use of coping strategies in multiple sclerosis: Association with demographic and disease-related characteristics. [Published online ahead of print October 22, 2018]. Mult Scler Relat Disord. doi:10.1016/j.msard.2018.10.016.