Difficulties with emotion regulation in multiple sclerosis: Links to executive function, mood, and quality of life

Author(s): Phillips LH, Henry JD, Nouzova E, Cooper C, Radlak B, et al.


Introduction:Little is known about the influence of multiple sclerosis (MS) on the regulation of emotion. The current study tested whether people with MS report more emotion regulation difficulties than healthy controls. The relationship between emotion regulation and other important variables (mood, quality of life, and executive function) was explored. Mediation models were used to further understand the links between emotion regulation, depressed mood, and executive function in MS.

Method:A total of 31 people with MS and 31 controls completed the Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scales and measures of executive function (fluency and a go/no-go task), mood (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scales), and a multidimensional assessment of quality of life (World Health Organization Quality of Life, brief version).

Results:People with MS reported experiencing more difficulties in emotion regulation than controls. Mediation analyses indicated that depression mediated the emotion regulation difficulties in MS, while executive dysfunction did not. Difficulties in emotion regulation predicted poorer psychological and social quality of life in MS, independent of problems with executive function.

Conclusions:People with MS experience difficulties in emotion regulation, which predict poorer quality of life. These results indicate that emotional control skills should be investigated in further detail when considering interventions to enhance well-being in MS.

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