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Most People With MS Have ‘Highly Agreeable’ Personalities, Study Says

Posted on April 12, 2022
Medically reviewed by
Evelyn O. Berman, M.D.
Article written by
Kristen Fischer

  • Over half of people with multiple sclerosis (MS) are considered “highly agreeable,” according to a new study of 384 people with the condition.
  • Women were found to be more agreeable and more conscientious.

Living with multiple sclerosis can present a wide range of emotions, personality adjustments, and cognitive changes. Overall, however, people with the condition tend to be “highly agreeable,” according to a new study out of Canada. Agreeableness is a personality trait characterized by empathy, affection, and altruism.

Researchers reviewed psychometric testing results of 384 people, taken within two years of their being diagnosed with MS between 2012 and 2021. Their goal was to better understand the individuals’ personality characteristics and how they related to information processing speed (IPS) and mood.

Their findings, published in Journal of the Neurological Sciences on March 15, revealed that nearly 54 percent of participants were rated as “highly agreeable.” When it came to gender differences, the study authors reported that “females were more agreeable and conscientious.”

Researchers found that 60 percent of participants had impaired information processing speeds. Overall, they found a weak correlation between IPS impairments and personality traits including conscientiousness, extraversion, and openness. However, they didn’t find any significant personality differences between participants with impaired IPS and those with normal IPS.

Depression and anxiety symptoms can impact people living with MS at any point along the diagnosis journey. In this study, researchers noted that 50.5 percent of participants had anxiety and 22.6 percent experienced depression.

Previous studies have noted that it’s important for health care providers to identify the mental state and personality traits of those they care for. The new study underscores this assessment, with the study authors concluding, “Early identification of these neuropsychiatric traits in people with MS may improve treatment adherence, symptoms, and quality of life.”

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Evelyn O. Berman, M.D. is a neurology and pediatric specialist and treats disorders of the brain in children. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Learn more about her here.
Kristen Fischer is a copy writer and journalist living at the Jersey Shore. Learn more about her here.

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