What is it about?

Self-efficacy (SE) is a key facilitator of healthy self-management. In people living with a chronic, progressive, and inherently uncertain condition like multiple sclerosis (MS), understanding individuals’ confidence in managing challenges of their condition (i.e., SE) could aid in predicting health behaviors and outcomes. This paper examines SE in the first year following a new MS diagnosis to increase insight into this critical time for individuals as they learn to manage their disease.

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Why is it important?

Research has repeatedly identified self-efficacy as a promising target for early intervention, given its predictive properties and strong relationship with numerous health outcomes (e.g., anxiety, depression, medical adherence, quality of life)—yet little is known about changes in SE over time. This work offers a novel contribution by (1) demonstrating that SE in individuals newly diagnosed with MS remains relatively stable across the postdiagnosis year and (2) identifying clinical characteristics (e.g., baseline MS symptom severity) that seem to impact individuals’ confidence levels in managing the disease. Timely interventions that enhance SE and/or improve certain clinical characteristics may promote healthy self-management of MS that carries forward in disease course.


Publishing an article on an underlying and often overlooked construct, like self-efficacy, feels like a win for the underdog. Examining SE across a 12-month duration allowed me to attend to the experience of individuals navigating a new MS diagnosis, rather than fixating on the clinical outcomes that often occupy our attention in both the research and clinical realm. In doing so, individuals’ unique journeys and personal strengths came to life in a sea of data points—continuously reminding me why I was drawn to this research in the first place.

Jamie Tingey
Stanford University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Self-efficacy trajectories of individuals newly diagnosed with multiple sclerosis., Rehabilitation Psychology, March 2023, American Psychological Association (APA), DOI: 10.1037/rep0000487.
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