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Eur J Neurol ; 28(10): 3375-3383, 2021 Oct.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1604393


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: In multiple sclerosis (MS), disease-related factors and dysfunctional coping might favor the development of mental distress induced by COVID-19 containment measures. Aim of this study was exploring the relationship between disability, coping strategies, daily life reorganization and neuropsychiatric symptoms in an Italian MS population during the COVID-19 lockdown, in order to identify potentially modifiable factors that could inform clinical management of mental distress in people with MS. METHODS: We explored the relationship between mental distress, disability and coping strategies in the Italian MS population under lockdown. Structural equation modeling was applied to information collected via web survey to identify modifiable factors that could account for mental distress. RESULTS: A total of 845 participants (497 with MS and 348 controls) were included in the study. The MS group had higher scores than the control group for depression (p = 0.005), but not for anxiety, emotional dyscontrol or sleep disturbances. The structural equation modeling explained 74% of the variance observed in depression score. Within the model, three latent factors were characterized from measured variables: motor disability and cognitive dysfunction contributed to disability (ß = 0.509 and ß = 0.836; p < 0.001); positive attitude and exercise contributed to active attitude (ß = 0.386 and ß = 0.297; p < 0.001); and avoidance, social support and watching television contributed to passive attitude (ß = 0.301, ß = 0.243 and ß = 0.212; p < 0.001). With regard to the relationship between latent factors and their influence on depression, disability contributed to passive attitude (ß = 0.855; p < 0.001), while both passive and active attitude significantly influenced depression (ß = 0.729 and ß = -0.456; p < 0.001). CONCLUSION: As a practical implication of our model, favoring exercise would enhance active attitude and its positive impact on mental well-being while, at the same time, reducing the negative impact of disability on depression, representing a valuable tool in facing COVID-19-related mental distress.

COVID-19 , Disabled Persons , Motor Disorders , Multiple Sclerosis , Anxiety , Communicable Disease Control , Depression/epidemiology , Humans , Multiple Sclerosis/epidemiology , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Surveys and Questionnaires
J Clin Med ; 10(6)2021 Mar 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1136516


Physical disability impacts psychosocial wellbeing in people with multiple sclerosis. However, the role of physical activity in this context is still debated. By taking advantage of a previous survey, conducted online from 22 April to 7 May 2020, we performed a post-hoc analysis with the aim to assess the associations between disability, physical exercise, and mental health in multiple sclerosis. We retrieved the following data: (i) sociodemographic information, (ii) changes in lifestyle (including exercise), (iii) physical disability, as measured with the Patient-Determined Disease Steps scale, and (iv) anxiety feelings and depressive symptoms assessed via the items included in the Quality of Life in Neurological Disorders measurement system. Examination of the interaction plot showed that the effect of disability on depression, but not on anxious symptoms, was significant for all levels of physical exercise (low: b = 1.22, 95% C.I. 0.85, 1.58, p < 0.001; moderate: b = 0.95, 95% C.I. 0.66, 1.24, p < 0.001; and high: b = 0.68, 95% C.I. 0.24, 1.13, p = 0.003). Based on these data, we can conclude that disability significantly impacted depression during the COVID-19 pandemic, with physical activity playing a moderating role. Our results suggest that favoring exercise in multiple sclerosis (MS) would ameliorate psychological wellbeing regardless of the level of physical disability.