DOI: 10.7224/1537-2073.2022-111 ISSN:

Effect of 2-Arm Intervention on Emotional Outcomes in Informal Caregivers of Individuals With Multiple Sclerosis: A Randomized Pilot Study Trial

Sara L. Douglas, Matthew Plow, Tanya Packer, Amy R. Lipson, Michelle J. Lehman
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing
  • Neurology (clinical)



Caregivers of people with multiple sclerosis (MS) report poor emotional outcomes yet few interventions have been tested. The goal of this study was to compare the effectiveness of a remotely delivered intervention with 2 arms (ie, website and telecoaching vs website only) aimed at reducing depression, anxiety, stress, and distress in informal caregivers of individuals with MS.


From March 2021 through August 2021, 151 caregivers were enrolled in the study. The intervention occurred over a 4-month period. The website plus telecoaching arm received (a) a monthly coaching session focused on information, skill building, and support that was delivered by a licensed social worker via videoconference or telephone, and (b) had access to a study-designed website for caregivers of individuals with MS. The website-only arm did not receive coaching sessions and had the same website access. Data were obtained at baseline, immediately after the intervention period, and 6 weeks after the intervention.


A linear mixed-effects model using an autoregressive covariance structure was used. It showed that the group by time interaction was statistically significant for the overall composite emotion score (depression, anxiety, stress) (P = .037) and the stress subscale score (P = .047), and it indicated that the website plus telecoaching arm demonstrated greater effectiveness at reducing the overall composite emotion and stress subscale scores.


Use of a remotely-delivered psychoeducational intervention that included individual coaching sessions as well as website access demonstrated preliminary efficacy in improving emotional outcomes in caregivers of individuals with MS. Further testing of the intervention with a larger sample is recommended.

More from our Archive