Understanding lifestyle self-management regimens that improve the life quality of people living with multiple sclerosis: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Publication Name

Health and Quality of Life Outcomes


Background: Lifestyle self-management as an intervention for people living with multiple sclerosis (plwMS) is an emerging area of research. Previous reviews have highlighted a need to systematically identify effective self-management regimens that influence the health and well-being of plwMS using a common metric of success. Objectives: To examine the effectiveness of lifestyle self-management strategies and interventions aimed at improving the quality of life (QOL), and/or disability of plwMS. The review also aimed to narratively explore common elements of self-management interventions that were effective at improving the outcomes of interest. Methods: A systematic search was performed using five scientific databases. The review process followed the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions and was registered with PROSPERO (Ref: CRD42021235982). Results: A total of 57 studies including 5830 individuals diagnosed with MS, met the inclusion criteria. Self-management interventions included physical activity, fatigue, dietary, stress/coping, emotional, symptom and medical management, and lifestyle and wellbeing programs. Self-reported QOL improved in 35 of 47 studies. Dietary intervention had no statistically significant overall effect on reducing MS disability, (P = 0.18). Heterogeneity limited the ability to pool the effects from a large number of eligible studies of the same design. Conclusion: Multicomponent self-management interventions, multimodal delivery methods, and cognitive behavioural theory principles were common elements of self-management interventions that improved the QOL of plwMS. However, these results should be interpreted with caution and care should be taken in its clinical application. This review has the potential to inform future management practices for plwMS and has revealed a significant gap in the literature, warranting high-quality, large-scale experimental, and observational studies that address lifestyle management.

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Article Number


Funding Sponsor

Multiple Sclerosis Australia



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