Date of Submission


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



Department Chair

Robert A DiTomasso, PhD, ABPP, Chair, Department of Psychology

First Advisor

Stephanie Felgoise, PhD, ABPP, Chairperson

Second Advisor

Donald P Masey, PsyD

Third Advisor

Zachary Simmons, MD


There is no cure for the fatal progression of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). Optimization of quality of life is the primary ALS treatment goal (Simmons, 2005). Consolidating multiple appointments into one visit is advantageous due to the severity of muscular deterioration and mobility problems associated with the disease. Multidisciplinary Clinics (MDC) provide improved care coordination, accessibility to health care professionals skilled in treating ALS, and improvements in symptom control for patients with ALS. The purpose of this study is to discuss the differences in quality of life, physical health status, and coping skills for individuals with ALS attending multidisciplinary clinics versus those receiving traditional, practitioner driven care. The investigation is part of a larger program of research designed to identify and address the psychosocial needs of individuals with ALS. The literature is void regarding factors connected to the reasons why individuals choose to attend an MDC, compared with receiving traditional practitioner driven care. Grounded theory was utilized to analyze and compare data by coding categories related to patient choice to utilize a multidisciplinary clinic or to utilize traditional care. This approach is specifically designed to provide supporting evidence that multidisciplinary clinics optimize quality of life for patients with ALS. This study was conducted through an online survey; 403 people initiated the survey, and 329 met inclusion criteria. Individuals who attend ALS clinics perceive Quality Of Life (QOL) as being higher in physical function and bulbar function, although those patients have lower levels of physical function, as measured by the ALSFRS-R. Thus, individuals attending a MDC differ in this survey from those who do not attend.