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Can a stress management programme reduce stress and improve quality of life in people diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis?

Agland, Susan (2017) Can a stress management programme reduce stress and improve quality of life in people diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis? Masters by Research thesis, Murdoch University.

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The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence clinical guidelines, together with the global consensus document ‘Brain Health’, acknowledge that modification of lifestyle factors contribute to the holistic care of people with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). While people with MS often report stressful life events as a precursor to developing MS, and despite increasing evidence of perceived stress as a risk factor for disease activity, the evidence for effectively managing stress in this population is limited. This study examined the effect of an educational program that incorporates progressive muscle relaxation (PMR), meditation and mindfulness exercises (ME) on people with MS over a six-month period.

100 people with relapsing remitting MS were randomly assigned to receive either stress management education (SME) or wait list (WL). The SME group received four one-onone sessions during which they learned PMR, meditation and ME and were asked to perform these 5-7 days of the week for six months. The primary outcome measure was change in perceived stress as measured by: the stress Visual Acuity Scale (sVAS), the stress component of the Depression, Anxiety and Stress Score (DASS21), and salivary cortisol levels. The secondary outcome measure was change in quality of life as measured by the Multiple Sclerosis International Quality of Life Questionnaire (MusiQoL).

None of the parameters evaluated changed between pre-and post SME (p≤0.05). These results indicate that SME does not significantly improve levels of stress or quality of life in people with MS. In contrast to previous research this study suggests there is no association with the study intervention in reducing perceived levels of stress. Future studies could include barriers to adherence.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters by Research)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Health Professions
United Nations SDGs: Goal 3: Good Health and Well-Being
Supervisor(s): Mortimer-Jones, Sheila
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