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Experiences of adjustment to secondary progress multiple sclerosis: A meta-ethnographic systematic review

Meek, Christopher; Topcu, Gogem; Moghaddam, Nima; das Nair, Roshan


Christopher Meek

Gogem Topcu

Nima Moghaddam

Roshan das Nair


Purpose: To provide an overview of the experiences and needs of patients adjusting to life after receiving a diagnosis of secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS).

Method: We conducted a meta-ethnographic synthesis of qualitative studies on the experiences of transition to SPMS, based on a systematic literature search of CINAHL, PsycINFO, Embase, MEDLINE, and Web of Science. Identified studies were quality-appraised using a critical appraisal checklist, and individual findings synthesised inductively.

Results: The synthesis included 12 articles with 144 people with SPMS. Adjusting to SPMS transition encompassed a variety of reactions and coping strategies. Successful adjustment was associated with accepting and adapting coping strategies, and availability of social support and relationships. Clinical services increased uncertainty around adjustment where patients felt clinicians were not transparent with them about their changing diagnosis.

Conclusions: People adjust to SPMS in different ways, with the success of adjustment influenced by a patient’s primary coping mechanism. Coping mechanisms are determined by pre-existing individual differences, alongside engagement with, and quality of, social support networks and activities. Services should ensure that people are provided with informational support about their illness progression, and emotional support concerning coping strategies, social networks, and physical activity, as these are key determinants of successful adjustment.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Mar 14, 2020
Journal Disability and Rehabilitation
Print ISSN 0963-8288
Electronic ISSN 1464-5165
Publisher Taylor & Francis Open
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
APA6 Citation Meek, C., Topcu, G., Moghaddam, N., & das Nair, R. (2020). Experiences of adjustment to secondary progress multiple sclerosis: A meta-ethnographic systematic review. Disability and Rehabilitation,
Keywords multiple sclerosis, secondary progressive, transition, adjustment, meta-synthesis, meta-ethnography
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Disability and Rehabilitation on 14/03/2020, available online: http://www.tandfonline....0/09638288.2020.1734105