Age and Gender Issues Related to MS: A Survey Study.

TitleAge and Gender Issues Related to MS: A Survey Study.
Publication TypeJournal Article
AuthorsYorkston KM, Johnson KL, Kuehn CM, Klasner ER, Kraft GH
JournalInternational Journal of MS Care

The purpose of this research is to investigate if differences exist in the needs of individuals with MS as a function of gender and age. This poster reports data from a community-based survey of 758 individuals with MS. Information collected from the 22-page questionnaire included demographics and physical, sensory, vocational, cognitive-communication and psychosocial consequences MS. Participants were asked to rate their problems on an average day as: no problem, mild, moderate or severe. The Multiple Sclerosis Association (MSA) of King County sent surveys to 1,178 members with King County zip codes. Individuals either completed the questionnaire on their own or had a friend or family member assist them as needed. Two rounds of reminder cards and a second mailing of the original survey were used to increase the response rate. Sixty one percent of valid surveys were returned, tabulated, and analyzed for gender and age differences. No differences between men and women were found for the number of demographic and psychosocial variables (age, marital status, living arrangements, employment status and education), for variables related to health care (including diagnostic tests and preventative health care), or for self reports of symptoms (heat sensitivity, fatigue, pain, or depression). Significant differences were found on a number of measures of disease status including type of MS, severity of disability and general health. More men than women reported a primary progression disease course and severe physical disability. Age was categorized into four groups (< 30; 30-45; 46-60, and > 60 years). Older individuals tended to be more severely disabled. The needs of older male individuals with MS may be unique. Rehabilitation specialists should consider the benefits that early intervention may have on this atypical MS population.

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