Social support is linked to mental health, quality of life, and motor function in multiple sclerosis.

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To investigate associations of social support to psychological well-being, cognition, and motor functioning in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). Secondarily, we were interested in exploring sex differences in these relationships, based on a bioevolutionary theoretical justification.Social support was assessed in 185 recently diagnosed patients (RADIEMS cohort), and in an independent validation sample (MEMCONNECT cohort, n = 62). Patients also completed a comprehensive neurobehavioral evaluation including measures of mental health, fatigue, quality of life, cognition, and motor function. Correlations tested links between social support and these variables, along with potential gender differences.In both samples, higher social support was associated with better mental health, quality of life, subjective cognitive function, and less fatigue. In the RADIEMS cohort, higher social support was associated with better motor functions, particularly grip strength and gait endurance in women.These findings highlight associations of social support to overall psychological health and motor functioning in persons with MS, underlining the potential opportunity of evaluating and promoting social engagement in novel treatment strategies.

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