Perceived Fatigue Impact and Cognitive Variability in Multiple Sclerosis

Kaitlin E. Riegler, Margaret Cadden, Erin T. Guty, Jared M. Bruce, Peter A. Arnett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Objective: People with Multiple Sclerosis (PwMS) and healthy controls (HCs) were evaluated on cognitive variability indices and we examined the relationship between fatigue and cognitive variability between these groups. Intraindividual variability (IIV) on a neuropsychological test battery was hypothesized to mediate the group differences expected in fatigue. Method: Fifty-nine PwMS and 51 HCs completed a psychosocial interview and battery of neuropsychological tests and questionnaires during a 1-day visit. Fatigue in this study was measured with the Fatigue Impact Scale (FIS), a self-report multidimensional measure of fatigue. IIV was operationalized using two different measures, a maximum discrepancy score (MDS) and intraindividual standard deviation (ISD), in two cognitive domains, memory and attention/processing speed. Two mediation analyses with group (PwMS or HCs) as the independent variable, variability composite (memory or attention/processing speed) measures as the mediators, total residual fatigue (after accounting for age) as the outcome, and depression as a covariate were conducted. The Baron and Kenny approach to testing mediation and the PROCESS macro for testing the strength of the indirect effect were used. Results: Results of a mediation analysis using 5000 bootstrap samples indicated that IIV in domains of both attention/processing speed and memory significantly mediated the effect of patient status on total residual fatigue. Conclusion: IIV is an objective performance measure that is related to differences in fatigue impact between PwMS and HCs. PwMS experience more variability across tests of attention/processing speed and memory and this experience of variable performance may increase the impact of fatigue.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)281-291
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the International Neuropsychological Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 31 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Neuroscience
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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