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Aleksandra Kurta-Nowicka Krystyna Jaracz

Abstract

Introduction. Multiple sclerosis (MS) because of its un predictable course and effects, can be a source of various psychological problems and mental health disturbances such as anxiety and depression. Among them, uncertainty is the least known but equal important problem due to its possible effects on patients’ psychological adjustment, quality of life and illness outcomes.
Aim of the study. The aim of the study was to assess the degree of illness uncertainty and to determine the correlates of uncertainty, as well as to analyse relationships between uncertainty and quality of life of patients with multiple sclerosis. Materials and methods. The study sample consisted of 40 patients with MS diagnosis, including 29 women and 11 men aged 23 65 years. Uncertainty was assessed using the Polish version of the Mishel Unc ertainty in Illness Scale (MUIS), quality of life with the help of MSQOL 54 questionnaire, anxiety and depression with the HADS scale, and the neurological status with the EDSS scale.
Results. Uncertainty in the whole sample was at a medium level; the over all MUIS score was 89.65 (SD 10.60); 27.5% of patients experienced a high degree of uncertainty. Significant differences between groups with low and high levels of uncertainty was found in patients’ age, duration of the disease and severity of anxiety (p < 0.05). A significant relationships between the level of uncertainty and quality of life was noted in 2 out of the 12 quality of life domains: strength/fatigue and health distress . There was no significant relationship between uncertainty and gender and th e severity of depressive symptoms.
Conclusions. 1) Uncertainty is an important element of the illness experience of multiple sclerosis patients its substantial severity was observed in more than a quarter of patients. 2) Younger patients with shorter dis ease duration and higher levels of anxiety were more likely to experience a higher degree of uncertainty. 3) The quality of life of patients with a high degree of uncertainty was in some domains worse than that of patients with a low degree of uncertainty.

Keywords: illness uncertainty, multiple sclerosis, quality of life

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