Multiple sclerosis - perceived control and coping - development of a scale
MS is a significant source of stress for many individuals. It is a chronic disease. The onset most often is in young adulthood. There are no preventative measures. Treatment is limited and often ineffective. For many the disease is characterised by unpredictable periods of remission and exacerbation of symptoms. When the 'flares' are frequent or of long duration, there is often poor coping, including depressive symptoms and impaired quality of life. Coping is an important component in the management of this disease. Perception plays a major role in coping. Literature search showed no evidence of any research on the topic of perception of coping and chronic illness. The aim of this study is to devise an appropriate measure of perception of coping in patients suffering from MS.The study is divided into 2 major parts. Part 1 is the devising of the scale. Part 2 is designed to establish reliability and validity of the scale. This part of the study is also designed to investigate the effectiveness of conventional rehabilitation programmes in altering the coping perception. For the first part of the study 20 subjects were recruited from the MS Register kept at the Douglas Grant Rehabilitation Unit. The second part of the study also comprised 20 subjects and these subjects were recruited when they were referred for rehabilitation to the Unit. The validity of the Scale was attempted by using the HAD scale, GHQ, and the COPE scale. Validation of the PCS as well as the impact of CBT intervention were attempted with a group of chronic pain patients. Reliability of the scale was established but not the validity. The reasons for this are discussed.