All About Multiple Sclerosis

More MS news articles for November 2003

Impact of recently diagnosed multiple sclerosis on quality of life, anxiety, depression and distress of patients and partners

Acta Neurol Scand. 2003 Dec;108(6):389-95
Janssens AC, Doorn PA, Boer JB, Meche FG, Passchier J, Hintzen RQ.
Department of Neurology, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, the Netherlands; Department of Medical Psychology and Psychotherapy, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, the Netherlands.


Studies demonstrating reduced quality of life and psychological well-being in multiple sclerosis (MS) have typically investigated patients within more advanced stages of disease.

The aim of the present paper was to evaluate the emotional burden and quality of life of recently diagnosed MS patients and their partners.


Data on health-related quality of life (SF-36), anxiety and depression (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale) and disease-related distress (Impact of Event Scale) were obtained in 101 patients and their partners (n = 78).


On average 8 months after diagnosis (range 024 months), 34% of the patients and 40% of the partners had clinically high levels of anxiety, and 36% of the patients and 24% of the partners had levels of severe distress.

Scores of anxiety, depression and distress were higher in patients with more functional limitations (Expanded Disability Status Scale = 3.0).

Quality of life was significantly poorer in patients compared with controls, particularly among those with higher disability.


Both patients and their partners demonstrated high levels of anxiety and distress in the early period after the diagnosis.

These findings indicate careful attention by health care professionals to identify those who may benefit from further psychological support.