Experience of identity change in people who reported a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis: A qualitative inquiry
das Nair, Roshan
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Background: A diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS) can lead to changes to a person's sense of self. The aim of this study was to investigate the subjective experience of identity change and subsequent adjustment to MS. Methods: Semistructured interviews were conducted with 16 people who reported having MS. Interviews were analyzed using thematic analysis. Results: In the early stages of disease progression, participants wanted to compartmentalize the disease. Over time, through reflected self-appraisal, brought about by increased symptoms and changed relationships with others, the disease became a part of the participants' self-identity. Conclusions: For people with MS, incorporating and accepting the disease as part of their self-identity can have positive implications for seeking and receiving support.