How MS affects mood

Patient update: How multiple sclerosis affects mood

I am Professor Dawn Langdon and with Dr Gurpreet Reen, have received a grant from the MS Society to use data from the UK MS Register to investigate mood in multiple sclerosis. We are both psychologists working at Royal Holloway University of London. As you know, people with MS are more likely to experience anxiety and depression than the general population and this affects their lives in a negative way, including employment and how well they manage their disease.

The UK MS Register is a very special set of data because it is collected from people with MS, recording their own experiences. It is also a very large set of data. In order to understand the impact of MS on mood using the UK MS Register data, we needed to identify complete data on mood and other related aspects of people’s lives. These were age, education, employment, disease subtype, physical impact, and psychological impact.

8,812 people with MS (of which 6,397 were female) had entered complete data on all these things. 5,541 had relapsing remitting MS, 2,085 had secondary progressive MS and 1,386 had primary progressive MS. About half of the people with MS reported raised levels of anxiety and also about half reported raised levels of depression. This is similar to other smaller studies which have previously been published.

We were able to use multiple regression, a statistical procedure which evaluates how different variables affect a particular variable of interest. We looked to see which variables were associated with anxiety and depression in MS. We are working on a scientific paper which we will submit to a peer review journal and will provide a more detailed update in due course.

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