The self-regulatory model in women with Multiple Sclerosis: illness representations, coping strategies and illness outcome

Elke Van Hoof, Caroline Charlier

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Background. Chronic patients vary greatly in level of dysfunction. Although medical factors influence this process, illness representations were introduced. Illness representations influence illness outcome. The latter relationship is believed to be mediated by coping. Till now the mediational relationship between illness representations, coping strategies and illness outcome was not examined in Multiple Sclerosis.
    Aim. To test the hypothesis that coping strategies mediate the relationship between illness representations and illness outcome in women with MS.
    Methods. 44 female MS patients and a well-matched control population of 49 female CFS patients were included. Illness representations were assessed using the Illness Perceptions Questionnaire-revised (IPQ-r). Physical functioning, mental health, vitality and social functioning (RAND MOS SF-36) were included in analyses. The coping strategies were measured using the Coping Inventory for Stressful Situations (CISS)
    Results. MS patients scored low on problem-oriented coping and are meanly impaired on physical and social functioning, vitality and mental health. A positive relationship between symptom identity and social functioning and an association between emotional illness representations and vitality, social functioning and mental health was seen. No indications were found to identify coping as a mediator between illness representations and outcome measures.
    Conclusion. Knowing the factors contributing to a specific domain will determine what strategies might be most effective in improving function in the domain. The present study provided some useful findings regarding the illness representations of MS and the relationship of these beliefs to outcome as well as their disease-specificity.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalUnknown Journal
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


    • MS
    • chronic disease
    • coping
    • perception
    • illness


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