Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic neurological disease that could aggressively affect patients’ quality of life in most instances. This study aimed to compare the effectiveness of an existential-spiritual psychotherapy with a cognitive-behavioral therapy on quality of life and meaning in life in women with multiple sclerosis.
A convenience sample of 43 women with multiple sclerosis participated in this quasi-experimental study. They were randomly assigned into 3 groups: an existential-spiritual intervention, a cognitive-behavioral intervention, and the control group. Participants were assessed for outcome measures (quality of life and meaning in life) at 3 points in time: pretest, posttest, and 5-months follow-up. The Multiple Sclerosis Quality of Life-54 (MSQOL-54) and the Meaning in Life Questionnaires (MLQ) were used as outcome measures. To compare outcomes among the study groups, repeated measures analysis of variance was performed.
The results showed that while no difference was observed for the control group, scores for meaning in life improved significantly for existential-spiritual intervention and cognitive-behavioral therapy (p = 0.027, p = 0.039). Also, both mental (p < 0.001, p = 0.014) and physical (p = 0.001, p = 0.013) health dimensions of quality of life increased significantly in the 2 intervention groups. However, the results indicated that women in the existential-spiritual intervention group showed greater improvement in some aspects of meaning in life (search for meaning) and quality of life (role physical and role emotional, pain and energy) compared to women in the cognitive-behavioral intervention group. However, the latter group showed better improvements on 2 subscales (physical function and health distress).
Both existential-spiritual and cognitive-behavioral interventions can improve quality of life and meaning in life among women with multiple sclerosis. However, the findings suggest that although both interventions were effective, the existential-spiritual intervention resulted in more positive improvements in some aspects of meaning in life and quality of life.
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