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Abstract

Multiple sclerosis (MS), as a progressive and degenerative illness, has an impact on different aspects of individual lives and may lead to difficulties, concerns, and worries in patients. The aim of the present study was to investigate concerns, worries and problems in patients with MS. We used a descriptive phenomenological qualitative approach. Participants were volunteers purposively selected based on their availability. We carried out deep interviews with 15 MS patients and analyzed the detailed information obtained from these interviews by using Colaizzi’s method. We extracted six essential themes and thirty-four sub-themes associated with MS from the content of the interviews. The main themes were labelled “Confronting existential concerns,” “Crisis of facing up with the illness,” “Suffering from the illness,” “Relationship,” “Confrontation with spirituality and religion,” “Searching for tranquility.” Results of the present study also reiterated the following: Patients with MS seem to lose meaning of life and this together with problems in dealing with existential concerns, may lead to the “disintegration of self,” hence resulting in considerable psychological disturbance and distress. It is concluded that the illness evokes psychological injury such as existential anxiety, relationship disturbance and hopelessness, and these psychological injuries can lead to relapsing of MS.

Keywords

Existential Concerns, Multiple Sclerosis, Phenomenology, Qualitative Approach, Self

Author Bio(s)

Zahra Abdekhodaie received her BSc and MSc in Clinical Psychology from Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran. She received her PhD in Clinical Psychology from Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran. Her research interests include qualitative study, existential psychology, religion and spirituality. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: z_abdekhodaie@sbu.ac.ir.

Shahriar Shahidi received his PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University College London in 1991. He has been faculty member with the Department of Education and Psychology at Shahid Beheshti University since 1992. Now, he is full professor in Clinical Psychology. His research interests include spirituality, positive psychology and mental health. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: shahriarshahidi@hotmail.com.

Mohammad Ali Mazaheri received his PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of London in 1997. Since that he has been faculty member with the Department of Education and Psychology at Shahid Beheshti University. Now, he is Full Professor in Clinical Psychology at this department. His research interests include attachment styles, spirituality and religion. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: mazaheri45@gmail.com.

Laily Panaghi received her PhD in community medicine from Iran Medical University in 2000. She has been faculty member with the Family Research Institute at Shahid Beheshti University since 2006. Now she is Associate Professor at this university. Women’s studies, domestic violence and suicide are her research interests. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: lpanaghi@yahoo.com.

Vahid Nejati received his BSc and MSc in Psychology from University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran. He received his PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience from Tabriz University, Tabriz, Iran, in 2008. Since that he is faculty member with the Department of Education and Psychology at Shahid Beheshti University, and now he is Associate Professor in Clinical Psychology at this department. His research interests include cognitive neuroscience, self and qualitative study. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: v_nejati@sbu.ac.ir.

Publication Date

8-15-2020

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.

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