In-person and online social participation and emotional health in individuals with multiple sclerosis
Age is related to less distress in several populations including people with multiple sclerosis (MS). One theory posits this is due to decreased emotional reactivity and better coping as people age and we attempted to test this theory in MS. We used a cross-sectional survey of 429 people with MS. Participants completed measures of physical and cognitive function, depressive symptoms and anxiety. Age moderated the relationship of physical function to distress, such that decreased physical function was related to more distress in younger participants. Age moderated the relationship of cognitive function to depression, such that decreased cognitive function was related to more depressive symptoms in younger participants. Age did not moderate the relationship of cognitive function and anxiety. The effect was only seen in women with MS; however, there were fewer men in the sample. The results are consistent with the theory of decreased emotional reactivity and better coping with age. However, we were unable to test this in much older adults (75+ years of age).