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20-05-2020 | Uitgave 10/2020

Quality of Life Research 10/2020

The impact of resilience on healthy aging with multiple sclerosis

Quality of Life Research > Uitgave 10/2020
M. Ploughman, M. B. Downer, R. W. Pretty, E. M. Wallack, S. Amirkhanian, M. C. Kirkland, The Health, Lifestyle and Aging with MS Canadian Consortium
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The members of the The Health, Lifestyle and Aging with MS Canadian Consortium study group are listed in the Acknowledgements.

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Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.



The aim of this study was to identify characteristics of older persons with multiple sclerosis (MS) reporting high and low levels of resilience. We also examined the influence of resilience on three key elements of healthy aging: level of disability, participation and health-related quality of life (HRQoL).


Data were extracted from the Canadian Survey of Health, Lifestyle and Aging with MS (n = 743). Lifestyle, psychological health, and quality of life variables were compared between people with high and low resilience scores controlling for confounding variables. We used hierarchical regression to determine the unique contribution of resilience and related variables to healthy aging.


Roughly, 1 in 5 respondents reported high resilience (18.8%), while 1 in 3 reported low resilience (33.9%). The group having higher resilience scores lived with less disability (~ 10%) and fatigue, reported greater participation, exercised more, consumed a healthier diet and lived with greater social support and financial security, compared to the lower scoring group. Resilience added only 1–2% of predictive value explaining disability, participation and HRQoL when confounding variables were accounted for. Years since diagnosis, type of MS, depression, fatigue and resilience significantly predicted healthy aging.


Resilience contributed minimally (but significantly) to healthy aging. Older participants scoring higher on resilience reported healthier lifestyle behaviors (more exercise, better diet) and social/financial support compared to lower scoring respondents. Our findings suggest that self-management programs for older persons with MS should focus on three key factors to foster healthy aging: depression, fatigue and resilience.

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