The effects of a group-based cognitive behavioral therapy on people with multiple sclerosis

The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of a cognitive behavioral group-based intervention aimed at reducing depression and promoting quality of life and psychological well-being of multiple sclerosis patients through the promotion of identity redefinition, sense of coherence, and self-efficacy. Eighty-two patients: 64% women; mean age 40.5, SD = 9.4; 95% with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis; Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) between 1 and 5.5 were included in the study. The participants were separated at random into either an intervention group (five cognitive behavioral group-based sessions, n = 41) or to a control group (three informative sessions, n = 41). Depression (CES-D), Quality of life (MSQOL revised), Psychological well-being (PANAS), Identity Motives Scale, Sense of Coherence (SOC), and Self Efficacy in Multiple Sclerosis were the main outcome measures.Quality of life improved in the intervention group compared with the control at 6-months follow-up (mean change 0.72 vs. −1.76, p < 0.05). Well-being in the intervention group increased for males and slightly decreased for females at 6-months follow-up (mean change 6.58 vs. −0.82, p < 0.05). Contrasts revealed an increase in self-efficacy in the intervention group at posttreatment compared with the control (mean change 2.95 vs. −0.11, p < 0.05). Depression tended to decrease, while identity and coherence increased in the intervention group compared with the control, though the differences were not significant.

Preliminary evidence indicates that intervention promotes patients’ quality of life and has an effect on psychological well-being and self-efficacy.