Coping strategies and adjustment to multiple sclerosis among recently diagnosed patients: the mediating role of sense of coherence

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To examine the relationship between coping strategies (problem solving, emotional release, and avoidance) and adjustment (health-related quality of life, depression, and affective well-being) in a group of recently diagnosed multiple sclerosis patients (up to three years since diagnosis), and to explore the mediating role of sense of coherence between coping strategies and adjustment.




Multiple Sclerosis Clinic Centre.


A total of 102 patients (61.8% women; age (years): M = 35.8, SD = 11.9; 95% with a relapsing–remitting form of multiple sclerosis; Expanded Disability Status Scale score, between 1 and 4).


Not applicable.

Main measures:

Coping with multiple sclerosis (problem solving, emotional release, and avoidance), sense of coherence, health-related quality of life (SF-12), depression (CES-D), and affective well-being (PANAS).


Problem solving was linked to higher mental health (β = 0.28) and higher affective well-being (β = 0.36), emotional release was related to lower depression (β = −0.22); avoidance was associated to higher mental health (β = 0.25), higher affective well-being (β = 0.24), and lower depression (β = −0.29) (all betas were significant at p < 0.05). Sense of coherence mediated the relationship between emotional release and depression (Sobel z-value = −2.00; p < 0.05) and the relationship between avoidance and all the indicators of adjustment (mental health: Sobel z-value = 1.97; depression: Sobel z-value = −2.02; affective well-being: Sobel z-value= 2.05; p < 0.05).


Emotional and avoidant coping strategies seem to be adaptive among recently diagnosed multiple sclerosis patients. A mediating role between coping strategies and adjustment is played by sense of coherence.

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