The Longitudinal Relationship between Fatigue and Cognition in Multiple Sclerosis: Is Coping Style a Moderator?

Open Access
Ukueberuwa, Dede
Graduate Program:
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
December 05, 2012
Committee Members:
  • Peter Andrew Arnett, Thesis Advisor
  • Frank Gerard Hillary, Thesis Advisor
  • Alicia Grandey, Thesis Advisor
  • multiple sclerosis
  • fatigue
  • cognition
  • coping
  • neuropsychology
  • psychology
Approximately 50 percent of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) experience cognitive impairment, which adversely affects performance of daily activities. Although patients report that fatigue contributes to cognitive difficulties, results from previous empirical studies do not show a clear linear association. This study assesses coping style as a moderator of the relationship between fatigue and cognition in a longitudinal MS sample. 50 participants (39 female) with a clinical diagnosis of multiple sclerosis completed fatigue, coping, and cognitive measures and repeated the assessments three years later. Scores on the Fatigue Impact Scale at time 1 and measures of coping (COPE Active Factor, COPE Avoidant Factor, and a Composite Adaptive Coping Index of the difference between the Active and Avoidant Factors) at time 2 were modeled in regression analyses to predict performance on a battery of cognitive tests known to be sensitive to MS. The hypothesis of this study was that patients with reported high impact of fatigue on their functioning who generally use more adaptive coping strategies will have better cognitive functioning than patients who use less adaptive coping strategies, and patients with low impact of fatigue will have good cognitive functioning regardless of coping style. Results supported the hypothesis, showing that the Composite Adaptive Coping Index moderated the relationship between reported fatigue and performance on cognitive tests.