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Adjusting to Chronic Illness: What does it mean and can we help? Seminar

Professor Rona Moss-Morris
16:00 - 17:30
18 November 2010
School of Psychology, Room 3095, Shackleton Building (Building 44), University of Southampton, Highfield, Southampton, SO17 1BJ

For more information regarding this seminar, please telephone Barbara Seiter on +44 (0)23 8059 5578 or email .

Event details

Multiple Sclerosis provides an excellent exemplar for the potential challenges that chronic illnesses may bring.

This seminar attempts to address the questions in this title using illustrations from work my research group has conducted since I arrived in Southampton 5 years ago. Much of this work has focused on people with multiple sclerosis (MS) and their families. MS is a progressive and/ or relapsing-remitting neurological illness. Onset is typically during young adulthood, a time when people are often most productive. The course of the illness is highly variable and uncertain. Therefore, MS provides an excellent exemplar for the potential challenges chronic illnesses may bring.

Existing theories of adjusting to chronic illness include models of drawn from clinical psychology which tend to conceptualise poor adjustment as psychopathology and models of health psychology which view chronic illness as a unique challenge to an individual’s equilibrium, but fail to take into account premorbid characteristics. I will use data from a large systematic review on the empirical literature on adjusting to MS and our qualitative and quantitative studies on MS to present a new model of adjustment. I will present our recent multicentre randomised controlled trial where we compared CBT to supportive listening for assisting adjustment to MS. Patients were followed up for one year. Although CBT was found to be the superior treatment, our economic analysis suggested it was not cost-effective. The results of the trial will be discussed in terms of our model of adjustment, for whom CBT might be most useful, and implications for service provision. Finally, I will talk about our insights in relation to adjustment within a family context and issues around adjusting in the context of multi-morbidity (i.e. where patients have more than one chronic illness).

Tea will be served beforehand at 15:45 in room 3096 (iZone room).

Speaker information

Professor Rona Moss-Morris,Professor of Health Psychology, School of Psychology, University of Southampton

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