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The relationship between diagnosis acceptance, self-concept, and mental health outcomes in individuals with multiple sclerosis
  1. Natalie Kate Ward1,
  2. Litza A Kiropoulos2
  1. 1School of Medicine, Deakin University, Waurn Ponds, VIC, Australia
  2. 2School of Psychological Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC, Australia


Objectives This study was concerned with examining depressive and anxiety symptoms, overall self-concept and physical self-concept amongst individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS) and determining how these differed between individuals with high and low MS diagnosis-acceptance. The role of MS illness duration was also evaluated.

Methods 329 individuals with MS completed the an online questionnaire incorporating the Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale (DASS-42), assessing depressive and anxiety symptoms, Acceptance of Chronic Health Conditions Scale (ACHC), assessing MS diagnosis acceptance and the Tennessee Self-Concept Scale (TSCS-2), investigating overall self-concept and physical self-concept.

Results As predicted, high MS diagnosis acceptance was significantly associated with higher overall self-concept and physical self-concept, while low MS diagnosis acceptance was significantly associated with lower overall self-concept and higher depressive and anxiety symptoms. MS duration was significantly positively associated with overall self-concept. Contrary to predictions, there were no significant relationships between MS duration and physical self-concept or depressive and anxiety symptoms.

Conclusions Results of the current study suggest that displaying high MS diagnosis acceptance is associated with positive outcomes for individuals with MS, including lower depressive and anxiety symptoms and higher overall and physical self-concept. Further research should continue to explore MS diagnosis acceptance as it appears to confer positive benefits to individuals, who have otherwise been shown to experience high rates of depressive and anxiety symptoms and low self-concept.

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