Clin Neurol Neurosurg 2013 Mar 19;115(3):293-7. Epub 2012 Jun 19.
Department of Medical Psychology and Psychotherapy, Medical University of Graz, Austria.
Objective: Attachment style and temperament could influence a stress-relapse relationship in multiple sclerosis. We therefore aimed to probe for an association of these personality-related variables with disease activity in patients with clinically isolated syndrome and early multiple sclerosis (MS).
Methods: Study participants completed following psychometric instruments: Adult Attachment Scale (AAS), Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI-125), Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS). Clinical data encompassed the expanded disability status scale (EDSS), annualized relapse rate, disease duration and therapy. Relapses and MRI data were recorded at regular outpatient visits.
Results: Study participants (n=84), 38 with a clinically isolated syndrome suggestive of MS (CIS) and 46 with relapsing remitting MS (RRMS), were assessed with a low EDSS (median 2). No significant differences concerning personality-related variables were revealed by group comparisons between CIS and RRMS and within the RRMS subgroup based on clinical measures (EDSS/year; within RRMS subgroup: annualized relapse rate). However, a higher lesion load per years of disease duration within the RRMS subgroup was associated with higher values in the temperament trait harm avoidance (p<0.05).
Conclusions: Although harm avoidance may be related to subclinical disease activity in early RRMS adult attachment and temperament do not seem to contribute to differences between CIS and RRMS or clinical variability in early multiple sclerosis.