Risk attitude and personality in people with multiple sclerosis facing the choice of different disease-modifying therapy scenarios

Eleonora Minacapelli, Andrea Giordano, Monica Falautano, Francesca Sangalli, Erika Pietrolongo, Lorena Lorefice, Eleonora Cocco, Alessandra Lugaresi, Massimo Filippi, Giancarlo Comi, Vittorio Martinelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: As available disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) increase, evaluating benefit/risk presents greater difficulties, requiring people with MS (PwMS) to play crucial roles in choosing treatment. Although individual attitude toward risk may predict this evaluation, its relation to personality is little studied in MS literature. Objective: To prospectively assess risk attitudes and personality traits of PwMS choosing a DMT. Methods: In three Italian MS centers (2012–2015), 420 PwMS completed an ad hoc questionnaire on socio-demographic variables, personality, and standard-gamble questions, to evaluate MS- and DMT-related risks through two hypothetical drug scenarios. We assessed the influence of previously collected socio-demographic/clinical characteristics, and personality factors on risk attitude. Results: Almost half of participants were mainly concerned about progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy; <25% about relapses. Median acceptable risk of death for both hypothetical drug scenarios was 1:10,000; 19–20% would not take any risk related to DMT. Regression analysis revealed that being male, more educated, and with higher impulsivity/sensation-seeking propensity was significantly associated with a higher risk attitude. Conclusions: Both socio-demographic and personality factors affect risk attitude of PwMS facing different DMT scenarios. These findings could affect the shared decision-making process in selecting best treatment option for PwMS.

Original languageEnglish
Article number117064
JournalJournal of the Neurological Sciences
Publication statusPublished - Oct 15 2020


  • Decision-making
  • Disease-modifying therapies
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Personality
  • Risk attitude
  • Shared decision-making

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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