Avoidant Coping Is Associated with Quality of Life in Persons with Multiple Sclerosis with High Cognitive Reserve

Samantha M. Vervoordt, Megan L. Bradson, Peter A. Arnett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective: The goal of this study was to determine the impact of the relationship between cognitive reserve and coping strategy on quality of life (QoL) outcomes in persons with MS (PwMS) across multiple domains. Methods: We examined the effect of the interactions between coping style and cognitive reserve on QoL and disease burden in 97 persons with MS (PwMS). Coping strategy, either active or avoidant, was measured using the COPE inventory. We defined cognitive reserve as a composite measure of years of education and scores on the Shipley-2 Vocabulary subtest. QoL and disease burden were assessed using the Functional Assessment of MS (FAMS) scale and the Expanded Disability Status Scale, respectively. We examined both the FAMS individual subscales and the overall QoL score. Results: For those with higher cognitive reserve, greater avoidant coping was associated with lower QoL for the thinking and fatigue subscale (p < 0.001) and poorer overall QoL (p = 0.03); greater active coping was associated with poorer QoL for mobility (p = 0.001). However, these associations did not hold for those with lower cognitive reserve. Furthermore, there were no associations between coping strategy and cognitive reserve with disease burden. Conclusions: This study extends previous findings by demonstrating that avoidant coping, rather than active coping, is associated with poorer thinking and fatigue and overall QoL only for PwMS with greater cognitive reserve. Counseling PwMS on the impact of coping strategies on QoL outcomes, especially for those with greater cognitive reserve, may improve quality of life outcomes in this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1527-1535
Number of pages9
JournalArchives of Clinical Neuropsychology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 1 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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