Health status of people with multiple sclerosis: A community mail survey

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We assessed the self-perceived health status of people with multiple sclerosis (MS) living in the Province of Milan, and the consequences of the disease on family, social and occupational status, using a cross-sectional mail survey. We identified 1350 adults with MS living in the Province of Milan. To a random sample of 400 of these, we sent out the multiple sclerosis quality-of-life-54 questionnaire (MSQOL-54), the proxy version of the short form-36 (SF-36), and a sociodemographic and clinical questionnaire. We received 261 replies (65%). Demographic and clinical data of responders and non-responders were similar except for frequency of hospitalisation over the last year, which was higher in responders. Compared to Italian norms, the MS patients had lower scores in all SF-36 domains; the differences were greatest for physical function, physical role limitations, vitality, and general health perceptions. Unemployment was 103 (41%) overall, 45% in women, and 54% in the less educated. A proxy informant was available for 245 (96%) responders. Concordance between patient and proxy reports on the SF-36 was moderate to excellent. MS had a pervasive impact on patients' lives, with substantial negative consequences for family and working life, that generally make themselves felt in the most active and productive period of people's live.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-315
Number of pages9
JournalNeurological Sciences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • Health-related quality of life
  • MSQOL-54
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Population survey
  • SF-36

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Neurology


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