2011 issue 4


Volume 20, issue 4

Original article

Some positive aspects of coping with chronic illness in patients with multiple sclerosis

Marlena Kossakowska1, Luiza Zemła-Sieradzka2
1. Szkoła Wyższa Psychologii Społecznej, Wydział Zamiejscowy, Sopot
2. Dom Dziecka „Na Wzgórzu”, Sopot
Postępy Psychiatrii i Neurologii 2011; 20(4): 259–267
Keywords: multiple sclerosis, personal growth, positive psychology, spirituality


Objective. The aim of the paper was to compare patients with chronic multiple sclerosis (MS) and retained motor functions (mean EDSS score = 4.88) with healthy controls for selected aspects of personal growth.
Method. Participants in the study were 30 MS patients and 30 healthy controls who responded to self-report questionnaires measuring various aspects of personal growth: readiness for self-growth attainment, life satisfaction, the meaning of life, spirituality level (including religiousness, harmony and ethical sensitivity aspects), and positive affectivity level.
Results. The study suggests that MS patients have some psychological benefi ts from experiencing their illness, namely, as compared to healthy controls they perceive life as more meaningful, declare higher religiousness, and tend to experience positive emotions more intensely. Moreover, the fi ndings show that MS does not affect either these patients' readiness to strive for personal growth, or their reported life satisfaction, ethical sensitivity and harmoniousness levels.
Conclusions. Coping with the stress of chronic illness gives MS patients a chance for a good quality of life with their condition.
Therapy of MS patients focused on striving for personal growth stands a good chance of success due to positive aspects of coping with illness.

Address for correspondence:
dr Marlena Kossakowska
Szkoła Wyższa Psychologii Społecznej Wydział Zamiejscowy w Sopocie
ul. Polna 16/20, 81‒745 Sopot
e-mail: mkossakowska@swps.edu.pl