Researchers find well-being differs with age in MS

September 24, 2018
A study by researchers from NYU and the Kessler Foundation shows that with aging, individuals with MS exhibit less severe depressive symptoms and better quality of life than their younger counterparts. These findings are consistent with the trend toward improvement in well-being with age in the general population. 

The participants were 57 individuals with MS, ages 35 to 65 who were divided into three age groups: 35-44, 45-54, and 55-65. Depression was measured by the Chicago Multiscale Depression Inventory. Quality of life was measured by the Physical and Mental scores on the MS QOL-54. The researchers found significant between-group differences for both measures. The oldest group reported the lowest levels of depressive symptoms and the highest levels of physical quality of life.

According to the researchers, the results were unexpected given the functional limitations, disease progression, and neurological lesions seen in the aging MS population. Contrary to their hypothesis, the trend by age paralleled that of the general population. The findings suggest that younger individuals with MS are at greater risk for depression and poor quality of life. If this trend is confirmed in future studies, targeted screening for depression by age may be warranted in this population.

The article was published in Rehabilitation Psychology.

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