Objective: Many individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS) report feeling stigmatized (Cook, Germano, & Stadler, in press), but little research has examined the psychological impact of this. Given the high prevalence of depression in MS, the aim of the current study was to assess, cross-sectionally and prospectively, the relationship between stigma and depression in people living with MS. Method: Data were collected from 5,104 people living with MS as part of the semi-annual survey conducted by the North American Research Committee on Multiple Sclerosis (NARCOMS). Participants’ perceptions of stigma and their ratings of depression were collected in spring 2013; one year later ratings of depression were collected again. Two subscales assessed stigma: Target-Stigma (e.g., “Because of my MS, I worry about people discriminating against me”) and Isolation-Stigma (e.g., “Because of my MS, I feel left out of things”). Hierarchical linear regressions tested stigma's contribution to depression both concurrently and prospectively, while controlling for demographic and health behavior covariates. Results: Controlling for covariates, Target-Stigma and Isolation-Stigma both positively predicted concurrent depression, t(5094) = 2.6, p < .01, η2p = .001; t(5094) = 27.9, p < .01, η2p = .133). Controlling for covariates, as well as baseline depression, Isolation-Stigma also predicted higher levels of depression one year later, t(5093) = 8.4, p < .01, η2p = .014. Results will also include tests of physical disability and disease duration as moderators of the stigma-depression relationship. Conclusion: Individuals with MS who report feeling stigmatized are more likely to be depressed and are at a greater risk of increased depression one-year later.
Judgment Hurts: The Psychological Consequences of Experiencing Stigma in Multiple Sclerosis
M Cadden, P Arnett, J Cook; C-09
Judgment Hurts: The Psychological Consequences of Experiencing Stigma in Multiple Sclerosis. Arch Clin Neuropsychol 2016; 31 (6): 644. doi: 10.1093/arclin/acw043.158
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