INTRODUCTION: This study examined the effect of perceived social support on the coping styles of patients with multiple sclerosis (pwMS) and their
relationship with disability.
METHODS: In total, 100 pwMS who applied to the Neurology Outpatient Clinic of Kahramanmaras Sutcu Imam University Medical Faculty Hospital and 100 healthy controls were included in the study. Disease duration, MS type, and Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) scores for pwMS were evaluated. The socio-demographic information form, multidimensional scale of perceived social support, scale for coping with stress, and Beck depression inventory were used.
RESULTS: The family, friend, and special person subdimensions of the perceived social support mechanism among pwMS and the helpless, optimistic, submissive, and self-confident approaches from the stress-coping subdimensions were positively correlated. However, the social support-seeking factor subdimension was negatively correlated. In the analysis of the effect of the social support level and coping mechanisms on each other in pwMS, a positive and significant correlation was found between the family and special person subdimensions and the optimistic approach. Moreover, pwMS had a mean score of 19.6±6.1 in the family subdimension of the perceived social support scale, 16.8±7.6 in the friend subdimension, and 19.5±6.1 in the special person subdimension. The helpless, submissive approach, and social support-seeking scores were 2.4±0.6, 2.4±0.6, and 3.1±0.5, respectively. In the analysis of the average of the scores obtained from the depression inventory, pwMS had an average score of 22±14, and the control group had an average score of 14.1±10.8. The mean scores of the pwMS in the helpless approach (p<0.05), submissive approach (p<0.05), and depression (p<0.05) inventory were significantly higher than those in the control group (p>0.05). The mean scores of the helpless approach (p<0.05) and the submissive approach (p<0.05) of pwMS with an EDSS score of >3 were significantly higher than those of pwMS with an EDSS score of ≤3.
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION: Coping strategies change throughout the disease. Specifically, patients with moderate-to-severe disabilities will need help coping with their existing disorder. As disability increases, the social support provided by family, friends, or spouses becomes more important.