- •Personality is directly and indirectly associated with fatigue.
- •Temperament and character traits are associated with fatigue.
- •Clinical features are associated with fatigue only when paired with personality
Background and objective
Research on the factors contributing to multiple sclerosis (MS) related fatigue are far from conclusive. Some studies put forward that clinical aspects of the disease give rise to this symptom whilst others emphasize the effects of psychological factors on its etiology. This study investigated the relationship between clinical aspects of MS and personality with MS fatigue.
A total of 201 participants with MS of which 48 (23.9%) males and 153 (76.1%) females took part in this online study. Questionnaires were populated measuring clinical features of the disease (disease duration, type of MS, Expanded Disability Status Scale - EDSS), personality traits, and MS-related fatigue. Data was analyzed by hierarchical regression analyses.
Personality traits accounted for a greater variance in MS fatigue (R² = .482, p < .01) than clinical aspects of the disease, these results were conclusive after controlling for the sociodemographic variables and depression. Temperament explained in total 10.5% variance of fatigue and character an additional 4.0 %. High Harm avoidance (HA) (β = .229, p < .01) and low Self-directedness (SD) (β = −.217, p < .01) directly predicted fatigue. Also, temperament was shown to indirectly affect fatigue, through character. High HA and high Novelty-seeking (NS) through low SD predicted fatigue. The association between clinical features and fatigue was not observed unless paired with personality traits. EDSS in conjunction with HA and Secondary – progressive MS (SPMS) coupled with SD negatively affected fatigue levels.
Personality traits directly and indirectly predicted MS-related fatigue. Furthermore, the impact of clinical indicators of disease on fatigue would not be observed unless these features occurred together with particular personality traits.
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Published online: March 17, 2020
Accepted: March 13, 2020
Received in revised form: February 17, 2020
Received: December 17, 2019
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