Personality and an Engaged Response Style in Patients Diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis
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Multiple sclerosis MS) is an autoimmune disease that impacts the central nervous system (CNS). The disease's attack on the CNS results in a wide range of symptoms and an unpredictable disease course. The combined uncertainty of the disease and its progression over time, make adjustment to MS a complex process. Despite its prevalence and long-term consequences, few studies have been conducted to provide comprehensive understanding of the psychological factors contributing to the adjustment process. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is considered one of the newer forms of CBT, often referred to as the "third wave." The core principle of ACT is the development of psychological flexibility through the six components of acceptance, cognitive defusion, present moment awareness, self as observer, values clarification, and committed action. When faced with a diagnosis of a chronic, life-changing illness, individuals may re-examine their goals and values. In addition, MS may make it more difficult to move toward one's values and may require determination and commitment to overcome barriers related to the disease. The current study examined the relationship between values, committed action, personality, and quality of life in a sample of individuals diagnosed with MS. The present study found that committed action was a significant predictor in all four of the QoL domains. However, it was most strongly associated with psychological and social QoL. The content and importance of the values that individuals with MS held predicted much less variance in QoL domains than committed action. Implications for future studies and clinical interventions targeting individuals with MS as well as the present study's limitations were also discussed.