A systematic review to explore patients’ MS knowledge and MS risk knowledge

Edward Smith, Dawn Langdon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Living with a chronic illness poses particular challenges, including maintaining current disease knowledge to optimise
self-management and interaction with health professionals. People with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) are increasingly encouraged
to participate in shared decision making. Making informed decisions is likely to rely on adequate knowledge about
the condition and its associated risks. The aim of this systematic review is to explore patients’ existing MS knowledge and
MS risk knowledge, and how these relate to demographic and disease variables. A literature search was conducted using
PsycINFO, PubMed and Cochrane Library. Eligible studies were published peer-reviewed reporting quantitative measures
of MS knowledge and MS risk knowledge in adult MS patients. Eighteen studies met inclusion criteria comprising a total
sample of 4,420 patients. A narrative synthesis was undertaken because studies employed various measures. Suboptimal
levels of MS knowledge and MS risk knowledge were generally identified across studies. Greater self-reported adherence and
a willingness to take medication were related to higher MS knowledge, while educational level was a significant predictor
of both MS knowledge and MS risk knowledge. Associations with other demographic and disease-related variables were
mixed for both knowledge domains. Direct comparison of results across studies were limited by methodological, sampling
and contextual heterogeneity. The review’s findings and implications for future research and clinical practice are considered
from this perspective.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNeurological Sciences
Early online date3 May 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 3 May 2024

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