2021 CMSC Annual Meeting

Religiosity and Mental Health in Multiple Sclerosis


Background: People with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) often face the dysfunctions that accompany the disease, experiences that can lead to suffering and impact mental health. Previous studies have shown a positive influence of religiosity on the health of people with chronic diseases. Objectives: To elucidate the ways of symbolizing and facing MS through religiosity. Methods: 19 people with MS participated, nine women and ten men, aged between 26 and 62 years old (Avg = 43.3 / SD = 10.3), disease duration from 5 to 20 years (Avg = 10.8 / SD = 6.7) and EDSS between 1 and 9. All were interviewed by a health professional specializing in MS rehabilitation and, during the colloquium, opinions were collected on the role of religiosity in MS. The answers were literally transcribed and analyzed by a psychologist with experience in MS. Results: MS was related to: lifestyle, without interference from religiosity (n = 2/11%); genetics, without interference from religiosity (n = 3/17%); punishment / ordeal, with interference from religiosity (n = 2/11%); divine gratification, with interference from religiosity (n = 4/22%); salvation, with interference from religiosity (n = 2/11%); to the design of God, with interference from religiosity (n = 1 / 5.5%); spiritual evolution, with interference from religiosity (n = 1 / 5.5%); to sin, with interference from religiosity (n = 3/17%). Conclusions: It is important that the representations and correspondences between religiosity and MS are addressed by health professionals involved in the rehabilitation of people with the disease, as they can be associated with psychological stress, depression and anxiety, as well as mental and emotional complications.