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MSVirtual2020: Social support linked to mental health, QOL, and motor function in MS

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  • MSVirtual2020: Social support linked to mental health, QOL, and motor function in MS

    P0165 - Social Matters: Social support is linked to mental health, quality of life, and motor function in multiple sclerosis (ID 1219)

    Presentation Number
    Presentation Topic
    Clinical Outcome MeasuresBackground
    We are social animals who naturally seek the companionship of others as an essential part of our physical and psychological well-being. Patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) who are dealing with a chronic and often debilitating disease are at higher risk for social isolation, which may be particularly detrimental to their health.

    We investigated associations of social support with mental health, cognition, and motor functioning in cross-sectional data from two independent cohorts of patients with MS. We further explored sex differences in these relationships, based on a bioevolutionary theoretical justification.

    Social support was assessed in 185 recently diagnosed patients (RADIEMS cohort), and in an independent validation sample (MEM CONNECT cohort, n = 62). Patients also completed a comprehensive neurobehavioral evaluation including measures of mental health, fatigue, quality of life, cognition and motor function. Correlations tested links between social support and these variables, along with potential gender differences.

    In both samples, higher social support was associated with better mental health, quality of life, subjective cognitive function, and less fatigue. In the RADIEMS cohort, correlations showed positive associations between social support and motor functions. The most robust relationships were observed for gross motor functions (gait, grip strength), especially in women.

    These findings highlight associations of social support to overall psychological health and motor functioning in persons with MS, underlining the potential opportunity of evaluating and promoting social engagement as a novel treatment strategy.
    Dave Bexfield