Predictors of Help-Seeking Behavior in Adults with Multiple Sclerosis
Weir, Virginia Grace
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Introduction: Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a physically, emotionally, and financially taxing disease. Education, support and wellness programs offered through consumer organizations have been shown to reduce symptom burden and improve overall quality of life. The purpose of this analysis was to predict help-seeking behavior in MS patients in the states of Alaska, Montana and Washington. Methods: This analysis was part of a cross-sectional needs assessment conducted with the National MS Society, Greater Northwest Chapter of MS Society Members. Our research was guided by Anderson's Behavioral Model of Health Services Use. Predictive variables chosen were based on Anderson's three categories of influence: predisposing (age, sex, time since diagnosis, and education), enabling (receiving Medicaid, income, social support, relationship status, living in a rural area and use of accessible transportation) and need factors (MS type, anxiety, depression, fatigue, pain and mobility). Univariate logistic regression models were conducted to determine predictors of help-seeking behavior. Significance was set using a Bonferroni correction at p<0.004. Results: 437 adults with MS participated in the survey. Participants had a mean age of 52.5 years, 69.3% were female, 59.6% had a relapsing-remitting MS type, 32.3% reported a progressive MS type and average time since diagnosis was 14.6 years. 62.5% of all participants reported not having attended any MS programs or services in the last 2 years. Results from our logistic regression showed years since diagnosis, education, receiving Medicaid, use of accessible transportation and lower mobility to be associated with help-seeking behavior. Conclusions: Individual differences, ecological factors and disease characteristics serve as barriers to help seeking behavior. Creating options for participation for MS patients with lower income, lower education and those with mobility limitations should be a primary goal. Greater outreach about positive outcomes associated with seeking-help should be conducted.
- Health services