Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Rehabilitation Counseling

First Advisor

Barbara Schoen

Second Advisor

Noreen Graf

Third Advisor

Roy K. Chen


The purpose of the present quantitative study was to gain an increased understanding of the impacts of caregiving and social support on stress for unpaid informal caregivers of persons with Multiple Sclerosis. Caregiving for MS can be rewarding yet stressful. Informal caregivers are the primary source of ongoing home care for family members or friends with MS. Due to the complexity of care, caregivers are especially vulnerable to higher strain as they often feel unprepared for this role. This study examined perceived social support and demographic variables on caregivers' stress to gain insight into mediating caregiver psychosocial challenges. This study comprised individuals (N=122) who provide unpaid informal care to a loved one with MS. Overall, results from statistical analysis revealed that participants experienced moderate levels of perceived social support and perceived stress. However, analysis of frequency levels indicated that MS spousal caregivers experienced higher stress than mothers/fathers and daughters/sons under certain circumstances. A moderate relationship was found between perceived social support and perceived stress. However, analysis of the frequencies of disagreement on perceived social support items found a lack of support from family and friends. Furthermore, there were no differences between gender and ethnicity regarding perceived stress.


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