The following study explores the possible causes of loneliness.
What we now need to do is learn from this and do something about it. That is why we are trying to set-up a programme of local MS wellness champions to try and tackle this problem. In fact, I am meeting with Alyson McGregor, the National Director of ‘Altogether Better‘, this afternoon to ask her to help us with our social capital project. I am sure we can model our #PatientActivation programme on their ‘Altogether Better Health Champions‘ model and achieve similar outcomes.
Balto et al. Loneliness in Multiple Sclerosis: Possible Antecedents and Correlates. Rehabil Nurs. 2019 Jan/Feb;44(1):52-59.
DESIGN: Cross-sectional, comparative study of MS (n = 63) and healthy adults (n = 21).
METHODS: Data were collected using self-reports of loneliness and antecedents and correlates and analyzed using inferential statistics.
FINDINGS: Those with MS had significantly higher loneliness scores than healthy adults (p < .05), and this was explained by employment status. Possible antecedents included marital status (p < .05), upper extremity function (r= -.28, p < .03), social disability frequency (r= -.49, p < .00), social disability limitations (r= -.38, p < .00), and personal disability limitations (r= -.29, p < .03). Social disability frequency (beta = -.41, p < .001) and marital status (beta = -.23, p < .046) accounted for 25% of the variance in loneliness scores. Possible correlates included depression (r= .49, p < .00), cognitive fatigue (r= .34, p < .01), psychosocial fatigue (r= .30, p < .02), and psychological quality of life (r= .44, p < .00).
CONCLUSIONS: We provide evidence of loneliness in persons with MS, and this is associated with possible antecedents (e.g., marital status and disability limitations) and correlates (e.g., depression and fatigue).
CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Loneliness should be recognized clinically as an important concomitant of MS.