Date of Submission


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



Department Chair

Robert A. DiTomasso, Ph.D., ABPP

First Advisor

Stephanie Felgoise, Ph.D., ABPP, Chairperson

Second Advisor

Barbara Golden, Psy.D., ABPP

Third Advisor

Zachary Simmons, M.D.


The understanding of intimate relationships in persons with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is not yet understood. A review of the current literature, including an overview of ALS and the development and maintenance of intimate relationships using psychological theory, is included. Comparisons to multiple sclerosis, acquired physical disability, and older adults are included to gain a greater understanding of how changes in physical functioning may impact an intimate relationship. This study used archival data, in which participants completed the following measures: ALS Functional Rating Scale–Revised, Personal Assessment of Intimacy in Relationships, and ALS Specific Quality of Life Measurement–Revised. Results suggest high levels of intimacy and that gender, age, time since symptom onset, and physical and bulbar functional ability are not predictors for experience of, desire for, and satisfaction with intimate relationships. Couples appeared to be resilient, and intimacy was maintained regardless of physical functioning. Potential explanations, limitations of the study, and implications of the research are also explored.