This study examined the relation between coping and depression in a sample of 50 (38 women, 12 men) individuals recently diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). A semi-structured interview was used to assess how individuals coped with the onset of disabling illness, and to assess depressive symptomatology. According to DSM-III-R criteria, 18 participants were diagnosed with major depression, 11 were diagnosed with adjustment disorder with depressed mood, and 21 did not satisfy the criteria for any affective disorder. Interview results indicated that nondepressed participants were more likely to use present focus and avoidance/denial strategies to deal with illness onset than participants with major depression or adjustment disorder. Discussion addresses why these strategies may be an adaptive means of dealing with the onset of MS.
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