Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and hopelessness: Psychosocial factors

Janice M. Plahuta, B. Jan McCulloch, Edward J. Kasarskis, Mark A. Ross, Rhoda A. Walter, Evelyn R. McDonald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship of psychosocial factors to the presence of hopelessness among patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Secondary cross-sectional analyses were conducted with data collected from 136 ALS patients. Primary research questions were examined using hierarchical multiple regression procedures. Results showed that health locus of control and purpose in life were significant predictors of hopelessness among ALS patients. Other factors, including socioeconomic and demographic variables, variables measuring length and severity of illness, and additional psychosocial variables (social support satisfaction and degree to which spiritual beliefs help to cope with ALS) were not significant predictors of hopelessness. Results are discussed in light of the benefit to ALS patients of psychosocial interventions in disease management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2131-2140
Number of pages10
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2002

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank the ALS Patient Profile Project of The New Road Map Foundation for collection of the dataset used in this study. The dataset was collected with partial funding from the University of Washington, The New Road Map Foundation, and the Veterans’ Affairs, all of Seattle, Washington, USA.


  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Hopelessness
  • Locus of control
  • Purpose in life
  • USA


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