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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 27 (1985) 8, 565 - 579

Short report

An investigation of possible correlations of subcortical lesions and changes in personality and coping styles in multiple sclerosis patients

J.J. van Egmond, A. Goedhart, H.K. van Walbeek

Thirty multiple sclerosis patients were divided in pairs and examined for presence of subcortical lesions bij means of neuropsychological testing. Eight pairs appeared to be complementary, as far as presence or absence of deficits identified bij neuropsychological testing was concerned. The resulting two groups of patients composed of eight patients each, i.e. one group of individuals with identified subcortical deficits and another group of subjects without any such deficits, were compared to each other. The purpose of such a comparison was to examine certain personality traits thought to be of relevance in multiple sclerosis as well as to investigate a number of coping styles with respect to learning to live with this disease. No difference between the groups could be found as far as extraversion, emotionality or impulsivenses were concerned. A diminished need for sensation seeking was found to be present in the group of patients with identified subcortical deficits. Patients who developed subcortical lesions in the course of their disease demonstrated an increase in the number of changes of coping styles when compared to the group of subjects who remained spared from such lesions. This increase was statistically significant.