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.”
On MyMSTeam, the social network for people with multiple sclerosis and their loved ones, more than 184,000 members come together to ask questions, give advice, and share their stories with others who understand life with multiple sclerosis.
Have you experienced goosebumps with MS? Share your experience in the comments below or by posting on MyMSTeam.