alexithymia, coping, multiple sclerosis, nursing care, research, stress



  1. Taskin Yilmaz, Feride
  2. Sabanciogullari, Selma
  3. Sevimligul, Gulgun


ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Multiple sclerosis (MS), which is frequently seen in young adults, affects mental health because of disease symptoms and cognitive disorders. This study was conducted to evaluate the presence of alexithymia and problem- or emotion-focused coping strategies with stress in MS patients, determine the relationship between these variables, and compare the results of MS patients with those of healthy individuals. METHODS: This descriptive, cross-sectional, and comparative study was carried out with the participation of 120 MS patients presenting to a neurology clinic and outpatient clinic of a university hospital and 120 healthy individuals. Data were collected using a personal information form, the Toronto Alexithymia Scale, and the Ways of Coping Scale. RESULTS: The 40.8% rate of alexithymia in the MS patients was higher than that in the healthy individuals (21.7%). Compared with healthy individuals, MS patients use emotion-focused coping methods, such as a lack of self-confidence approach and a submissive approach, more frequently (P < .05). A significant negative correlation was found between the alexithymia and problem-focused coping strategies of MS patients (P < .01). CONCLUSION: Alexithymia is more common in MS patients than in healthy individuals. Alexithymia negatively affects the methods patients use to cope with stress. In the treatment and care of MS patients, nurses should plan interventions for the ability of these patients to recognize and express their emotions and develop positive coping methods.