Balto et al. Loneliness in Multiple Sclerosis: Possible Antecedents and Correlates. Rehabil Nurs. 2019 Jan/Feb;44(1):52-59.
PURPOSE: The prevalence and possible antecedents and correlates of loneliness in multiple sclerosis (MS) was examined.
DESIGN: Cross-sectional, comparative study of MS (n = 63) and healthy adults (n = 21).
METHODS: Data were collected using self-reports of loneliness and antecedents and correlates and analyzed using inferential statistics.
FINDINGS: Those with MS had significantly higher loneliness scores than healthy adults (p < .05), and this was explained by employment status. Possible antecedents included marital status (p < .05), upper extremity function (r= -.28, p < .03), social disability frequency (r= -.49, p < .00), social disability limitations (r= -.38, p < .00), and personal disability limitations (r= -.29, p < .03). Social disability frequency (beta = -.41, p < .001) and marital status (beta = -.23, p < .046) accounted for 25% of the variance in loneliness scores. Possible correlates included depression (r= .49, p < .00), cognitive fatigue (r= .34, p < .01), psychosocial fatigue (r= .30, p < .02), and psychological quality of life (r= .44, p < .00).
CONCLUSIONS: We provide evidence of loneliness in persons with MS, and this is associated with possible antecedents (e.g., marital status and disability limitations) and correlates (e.g., depression and fatigue).
CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Loneliness should be recognized clinically as an important concomitant of MS.