2021 CMSC Annual Meeting

Mindfulness Based Art Therapy to Improve Symptoms Among Adults with Multiple Sclerosis


Background: Multiple sclerosis (MS) MS affects nearly one million people in the United States and more than two million worldwide. Symptoms may include fatigue, anxiety, depression, and motor/sensory. Mindfulness-based art therapy (MBAT) has been shown to provide a mindfulness based intervention (MBI) for adults with MS to self-manage their symptoms. There is a need for the use of an MBAT intervention that can be delivered in any setting as typical MBIs may be impaired by time and access to healthcare. Objectives:: Our objective was to test the effect of a teleconference 8-week mindfulness intervention on the overall symptom burden using the MS-Related Symptom Checklist (Gulick) and the impact on quality of life (QOL). Methods: Participants with MS (n=16) were purposefully selected for the teleconference MBAT pilot study. Participants were asked to complete the MS-Related Symptom Scale (MS-RS) at baseline and 3 months, as well as PROMIS Global Health for QOL. Results: A majority of participants were white, women (87.5%) with a mean age of 43.6 in years (SD=10.2). Most were married (62.5%), employed (81.3%), with relapsing-remitting MS (71.4%). PROMIS Fatigue mean (58.8±8.4), Global Physical mean (43.8±6.9), Global Mental mean (43.5±7.7), CESD mean (14.3±11.2) and PSQI mean (7.0±2.6) were reported before MBAT intervention. The mean MS-RS total score was 38.6 (SD=18.8) before and 27.6 (SD=9.6) after MBAT intervention (p=0.19). Considering the large proportion of missing values of MS-RS after MBAT intervention, we applied a multiple imputation method to impute the missing values assuming a multivariate normal distribution of MS-RS at the two time points. The estimated mean change of MS-RS (after – before) is -5.7±8.2 (p= 0.017). The change of MS-RS is significantly correlated with Global Physical (r=0.78, p=0.001), Global Mental (r=0.55, p=0.04), CESD (r=-0.61, p=0.036) and PSQI (r=-0.58, p=0.025) before intervention. Conclusions: A teleconference MBAT could be an effective strategy for the mitigation of overall MS symptoms. The preliminary pilot work proposed in this study has the expected outcome to advance clinical practice with patient-tailored interventions in adults with MS.