Background: Multiple sclerosis (MS) is characterized by an unpredictable course of neurological symptoms that are thought to be exacerbated by stress and negatively impact quality of life (QOL; Mohr, 2007). Dispositional gratitude may act as a protective factor to maintain ones well-being. Prior research has indicated that gratitude is negatively related to perceived stress (PS) and positively associated with better well-being in both general and chronically ill samples (Emmons & McCullough, 2003; Lee et al., 2018; Wood, Joseph, & Linley, 2007; Wood et al., 2010). Additionally, studies suggest that gratitude may lead to lower levels of stress over time (Wood, Joseph, & Maltby, 2008; Wood, Maltby, et al., 2008). Attempts to understand the relationship between gratitude and aspects of QOL have been documented (Crouch, Verdi, & Erickson, 2020); however, there is no research to date focused on determining the potential mediating effect of perceived stress on gratitude and QOL in samples with MS.
Objectives: The aim of this study is to explore relationships between gratitude, PS, and QOL in MS patients.
Methods: 123 MS patients aged 18 or older will be recruited from a Midwestern neurological clinic in March 2021-July 2021 to complete a one-time survey via REDCap. Gratitude will be assessed by the GQ-6 (McCullough, M. E., Emmons, R. A., & Tsang, J., 2002), PS will be assessed by the PSS (Cohen & Williamson, 1988), and QOL will be assessed via the patients’ scores on the Neuro-QoL Measurement System (Cella, Lai, Nowinski, Victorson, Peterman, Miller, Bethoux, Heinemann, Rubin, Cavazos, & Reder, 2012) in their medical chart. Patients will be compensated $15.
Results: Descriptive statistics and a series of linear regressions will be utilized to identify both clinical and demographic variables that predict QOL in MS patients. Multiple regression analyses will be conducted to evaluate the presence of mediation if both gratitude and PS have been found to significantly predict QOL variables and if gratitude has been found to significantly predict PS. Statistical significance will be established at p<0.05. We aim to complete statistical analysis by August 2021 using SPSS software. Conclusions: Clarifying the relationships between gratitude, PS, and QOL among MS patients will provide valuable information to the present literature as well as inform future clinical interventions aimed at maintaining and enhancing patients QOL.