Document Type: Original Article
Department of Nursing, University of West Attica, Athens, Greece
Background: Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an inflammatory chronic disease of the central nervous system (CNS) which is related with unpredictable course and increasing disability. Social support as an available interpersonal resource may help patients with MS. The purposeof the present studywas to evaluate perceived social support in patients with MS as well as the associated factors.
Methods: The sample of this cross-sectional study included 200 patients with MS. Data collection was performed by the completion of the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support (MSPSS) and a questionnaire which included patients' characteristics.
Results: Patients reported to perceive high support from significant others and their family (median:
24.0 and 23.5, respectively) and less from their friends (median: 20). Moreover, a statistically significant association was found between social support from significant others and marital status (P = 0.010), modification of daily activities (P = 0.018), difficulties with social and family environment (P ≤ 0.001 and P ≤ 0.001, respectively), frequent urination (P = 0.015), and whether they easily forgot (P = 0.049), characterized themselves as anxious (P = 0.049), and believed in God (P = 0.002). Also, a statistically significant association was fond between social support from family and relation with health professionals (P = 0.041), difficulties with social and family environment
(P = 0.003 and P ≤ 0.001, respectively), and whether they considered themselves as anxious (P = 0.050), and they believed in God (P ≤ 0.001). Furthermore, a statistically significant association was found between support from friends and modification of daily activities (P = 0.010), help in daily activities (P = 0.016), need for movement assistance (P = 0.001), difficulties with social and family environment (P ≤ 0.001 and P = 0.005, respectively), and whether they considered themselves anxious (P = 0.046).
Conclusion: Factors associated with perceived social support should be evaluated when planning holistic care to patients with MS.
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