Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 33, Issue 3, pp 219–227 | Cite as

Treatment adherence in multiple sclerosis: association with emotional status, personality, and cognition

  • Jared M. BruceEmail author
  • Laura M. Hancock
  • Peter Arnett
  • Sharon Lynch


The purpose of the present study was to prospectively examine the association between treatment adherence and common neuropsychiatric symptoms in multiple sclerosis (MS). Patients underwent a thorough psychiatric and neuropsychological evaluation at the outset of the study. Patient adherence to disease modifying therapies was then tracked for 8 weeks using self-report, a medication diary, and an electronic monitoring device that recorded needle disposals. Results indicated that MS patients with current mood or anxiety disorders were almost five times as likely as MS patients with no psychiatric diagnosis to exhibit problems adhering to their disease modifying therapies. Poor adherence was also associated with memory difficulties, anxiety, depression, neuroticism, and low conscientiousness. Findings highlight the importance of conducting a thorough psychiatric and neuropsychological evaluation when clinicians suspect poor adherence to disease modifying therapies. Pharmacological or psychotherapeutic treatment of mood/anxiety disorders, use of scheduled reminders, and/or increased organization and structure may lead to improved treatment adherence in MS.


Multiple sclerosis Adherence MEMS Cognition Memory Depression Anxiety 



The authors would like to express their gratitude to research assistants Shelly Peterson, Dr. John Jacobson, Josie Tyrer, Emily Guse, Meghan Murphy, Justin Lasater, Lisa Bratcher, and JaNae Fritz. The authors would also like to thank Dr. Amanda Bruce for her thoughtful edits.


This study was funded in part by pilot grant PP1506 from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jared M. Bruce
    • 1
    Email author
  • Laura M. Hancock
    • 1
  • Peter Arnett
    • 2
  • Sharon Lynch
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Missouri–Kansas CityKansas CityUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  3. 3.Landon Center on AgingUniversity of Kansas Medical CenterKansas CityUSA

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