Table of Contents
Journal of Neurodegenerative Diseases
Volume 2013, Article ID 429171, 7 pages
Research Article

Outcomes of a Peer Support Program in Multiple Sclerosis in an Australian Community Cohort: A Prospective Study

1Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Royal Melbourne Hospital, 34-54 Poplar Road, Parkville, VIC 3052, Australia
2Department of Medicine, Dentistry & Health Sciences, University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC 3050, Australia
3School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Clayton, VIC 3800, Australia

Received 29 August 2013; Accepted 4 November 2013

Academic Editor: Yaroslav Winter

Copyright © 2013 Louisa Ng et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background/Objectives. This pilot study evaluated the impact of a peer support program on improving multiple sclerosis (MS) related psychological functions (depression, anxiety, and stress) and enhancing quality of life. Methodology. Participants ( ) were recruited prospectively and received an 8-week group face-to-face peer support program. Assessments were at baseline (T1), 6 weeks after program (T2), and 12 months after program (T3), using validated questionnaires: Depression Anxiety Stress Scale (DASS), McGill Quality of Life (MQOL), and Brief COPE. Results. Participants’ mean age was 52; the majority were female (64%) and married (64%). Median time since MS diagnosis was 16 years. At T2, participants reported improved psychological functioning (DASS “depression,” “anxiety,” and “stress” subscales, values −2.36, −2.22, and −2.54, moderate effect sizes ( ) 0.29, 0.28, and 0.32, resp.) and quality of life (MQOL SIS score −2.07, ) and were less likely to use “self-blame” as a coping mechanism (Brief COPE score −2.37, ). At T3, the positive improvements in stress (DASS stress subscale score −2.41, ) and quality of life were maintained (MQOL SIS, score −2.30, ). There were no adverse effects reported.