Effects of a cognitive-behavioral program for women with multiple sclerosis.

The purpose of this quasi-experimental study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a cognitive-behavioral intervention for women with multiple sclerosis (MS). Thirty-seven adult women with MS participated in a group-based intervention program titled “Beyond MS,” which was led by master’s-prepared psychiatric nurses. For participants, the program involved reading a manual and meeting for five weekly group sessions. Perceived health competence, coping behaviors, psychological well-being, quality of life, and fatigue were measured at four time periods: 5 weeks before the beginning of the intervention, immediately before the intervention, at the end of the 5-week intervention, and at a 6-month follow-up. There were significant improvements in the participants’ perceived health competence (p < .01), indices of adaptive and maladaptive coping (p < .04), and most measures of psychological well-being (p < .05) from pre- to postintervention. The positive changes brought about by this relatively brief intervention program were maintained during the 6-month follow-up period. This cognitive-behavioral intervention has also been used effectively in the rheumatoid arthritis population and may be adaptable to benefit individuals with other chronic conditions.