Objectives. In their study the authors comparedpatients with multiple sclerosis (MS) and those suffering from discopathy for the sense of alienation (SA) level. Individual characteristics (age, education, gender, perceived social support) and clinical variables (duration of disease in both groups and the course of illness in MS) possibly associated with the sense of alienation were taken into account.
Method. Participants were 23 MS patients and 20 persons with discopathy. The Sense of Alienation Scale and Social Support Scale were used (both developed by K. Kmiecik-Baran), as well as a modified version of the MMSE.
Results. No intergroup differences were found regarding the sense of alienation and perceived social support, and the scores suggest satisfaction with social contacts in both groups. Some individual and clinical factors were differentially related to SA levels in the compared groups. In older MS patients the sense of alienation and isolation was diminishing, while in persons with discopathy a global SA increased with age. In both groups neither the duration of disease nor gender were related to SA levels. MMSE scores correlated with SA indicators only in the group with discopathy Patients with the relapsing-remitting form of MS as compared to those with progressive MS had higher levels of SA and its dimensions.
Conclusions. The findings justify a discussion about the role of social support in comprehensive rehabilitation ofpatients with multiple sclerosis. They suggest also a high level of various interventions supporting this group of patients.