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Keywords

Berlin Social Support Scale, care partners, caregiver, multiple sclerosis, nursing, predictors

 

Authors

  1. Debska, Grazyna
  2. Milaniak, Irena
  3. Skorupska-Krol, Agnieszka

Abstract

ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Coping with a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS) is challenging. MS is one of the most common causes of nontraumatic disability in young adults, and patients may need assistance with daily life activities. This article explores the relation between quality of life (QOL) and the perceived available social support among patients with MS and their families. METHODS: The study included 120 subjects (60 patient-caregiver dyads). The average age of the patients was 53.95 +/- 10.19 years, and for caregivers, it was 50.8 +/- 13.3 years. The study used 2 subscales of the Berlin Social Support Scale (perceived availability of social support and need for social support) and the World Health Organization Quality of Life questionnaire for the assessment of QOL. RESULTS: QOL in MS is lower compared with that of their caregivers in all dimensions except the social domain (P < .001, r = 0.54-0.64). A higher need for social support was experienced by caregivers. The need for support in this group is affected by 3 predictors: QOL in the environmental domain and in the physical domain as well as their subjective health. An improvement in QOL in all the domains is related to an increase of perceived available support, in both the group of patients and that of their caregivers (P < .05, [rho] = 0.28-0.59). CONCLUSIONS: Perceived available support is of great importance for both patients and their caregivers to enable them to function better in the physical, mental, social, and environmental domains of their QOL, where social relationships play a predictive role.