Background: Hopelessness is a risk factor for depression and suicide. There is little information on this phenomenon among patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS), one of the most common causes of disability and loss of autonomy in young adults. The aim of this study was to assess state hopelessness and its associated factors in early-stage RRMS. Methods: A multicenter, non-interventional study was conducted. Adult patients with a diagnosis of RRMS, a disease duration ≤ 3 years, and an Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) score of 0– 5.5 were included. The State-Trait Hopelessness Scale (STHS) was used to measure patients´ hopelessness. A battery of patient-reported and clinician-rated measurements was used to assess clinical status. A multivariate logistic regression analysis was conducted to determine the association between patients’ characteristics and state hopelessness. Results: A total of 189 patients were included. Mean age (standard deviation-SD) was 36.1 (9.4) years and 71.4% were female. Median disease duration (interquartile range-IQR) was 1.4 (0.7, 2.1) years. Symptom severity and disability were low with a median EDSS (IQR) score of 1.0 (0, 2.0). A proportion of 65.6% (n=124) of patients reported moderate-to-severe hopelessness. Hopelessness was associated with older age (p=0.035), depressive symptoms (p=< 0.001), a threatening illness perception (p=0.001), and psychological and cognitive barriers to workplace performance (p=0.029) in the multivariate analysis after adjustment for confounders. Conclusion: Hopelessness was a common phenomenon in early-stage RRMS, even in a population with low physical disability. Identifying factors associated with hopelessness may be critical for implementing preventive strategies helping patients to adapt to the new situation and cope with the disease in the long term.
Hopelessness; Relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis; Suicide
Sainz De La Maza S, Maurino J, Castillo-Triviño T, Borges M, Torres BS, Sotoca J, et al. Hopelessness in Patients with Early-Stage Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis. Patient Prefer Adherence. 2023 Jun 14;17:1431–9.
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