University of Washington

Department of Rehabilitation Medicine

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Perceived social support and depression among veterans with multiple sclerosis


Bambara JK, Turner AP, Williams RM, Haselkorn JK.



Publication Info:

Disability and Rehabilitation, 33(1):1-8


PURPOSE: To examine the association between perceived social support and self-reported depression among Veterans of the US Armed Forces ('Veterans') with multiple sclerosis (MS), and differences in this relationship between specific support subtypes (tangible, positive social interaction, emotional/informational and affective).
METHOD: Participants were Veterans with MS (N?=?451) receiving medical services through the Veterans Health Administration who completed mailed surveys. Hierarchical regression examined the extent to which global perceived social support concurrently predicted depression among a predominantly male sample of individuals with MS. Exploratory correlational analyses examined the relationship between specific subtypes of perceived social support and depression.
RESULTS: Greater global perceived social support was associated with less depression after controlling for sociodemographic and disease-related variables. In follow-up analyses examining specific subtypes of support, greater positive social interaction, greater emotional/informational support, and greater affective support were related to less depression. There was no relationship between perceived tangible support and depression.
CONCLUSIONS: Interventions aimed at increasing positive social interactions, expressed affection and emotional/information support may be particularly helpful for individuals with MS and their caregivers.

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