Husbands and Wives Living With Multiple Sclerosis

Nancy Fleming Courts; Amanda N. Newton; Linda J. McNeal


J Neurosci Nurs. 2005;37(1):20-27. 

In This Article


         Eleven men and 10 women were contacted. Eight husbands and 4 wives participated in the two groups, for a response rate of 73% for the men and 40% for the women. Reasons given for nonparticipation included inconvenient meeting date, the person was no longer married, and lack of interest. All respondents were Caucasian. The sample was representative of the MS population in terms of gender. The ages of the husbands ranged from 31 to 67 years (          x          = 49.5) and the ages of wives were 50–65 years (          x          = 55). The men stated that the time since diagnosis ranged from 2 to 11 years (          x          = 5.5). They said, however, that they believed their wives had had the disease for a longer period of time. The women stated that the time since diagnosis ranged from 8 to 10 years (          x          = 9).        

Four major themes were identified. The first theme described the spouses' role as caregivers, with men as protectors and women as advocates. The second theme revolved around the need for resources, such as information about MS, complementary treatments, and support services. The third theme described relationship changes, such as role changes and strengths. The last theme, barriers, identified both human and environmental barriers.


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