The influence of a lack of social support and perceived stigma for individuals with multiple sclerosis and motor neurone disease

Leigh, Natalie (2020) The influence of a lack of social support and perceived stigma for individuals with multiple sclerosis and motor neurone disease. PhD thesis, UNSPECIFIED.

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Section 1 describes a systematic literature review examining psychological correlates of perceived social support in multiple sclerosis. Five subject databases (CINAHL; EMBASE; PsycINFO; PubMed; Web of Science) were searched using a single search string (correlates OR factors AND “social support” and “multiple sclerosis”). Of the 21 articles reviewed, 20 reported statistically significant relationships. Most studies (n = 11) correlated perceived social support with depression or mental health aspects of quality of life and all found the higher the social support, the lower depression and higher positive mental health. Studies using regression identified that greater social support was a significant predictor of lower anxiety, anger, depression, loneliness and better mental aspects of health-related quality of life, postpartum emotional distress and self-esteem. The results provide evidence for significant relationships between social support and various psychological variables. Section 2 describes a research study which aimed to identify whether a lack of social support and increased levels of perceived stigma predicted psychological distress for individuals with motor neurone disease (MND). Correlational and hierarchical regression analyses were conducted. Significant correlations were identified between social support, felt and enacted stigma and measures of psychological distress. Regression analyses revealed that enacted stigma was not an independent predictor in any of the models and social support did not remain a significant independent predictor for stress when stigma entered the model. Moreover, felt stigma was a more powerful significant independent predictor in all the models. It may be important to consider social support and stigma when aiming to improve psychological distress for individuals with MND. Section 3 describes a critical and reflective appraisal of aspects of the whole thesis. This includes an overview of the main findings, discusses recruitment issues, the conceptual framework of disability employed to guide the terminology usage, and makes recommendations for future research.

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Thesis (PhD)
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07 Feb 2020 12:30
Last Modified:
22 Sep 2023 00:56