Date of Submission


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



Department Chair

Robert A. DiTomasso, PhD, ABPP

First Advisor

Robert A. DiTomasso, PhD, ABPP

Second Advisor

Barbara A. Golden, PsyD, ABPP

Third Advisor

Jeanette M. Garcia, PhD


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease of the central nervous system that typically results in cognitive and physical impairment. Depending upon the severity of symptoms, persons with MS often need assistance from caregivers in their daily lives. Research has shown that when a family member is diagnosed with the disease, household members become a source of caregiver support. The relationships between caregiver burden and chronic illness and between stress and health are well-documented. The impact of caregiving on individuals with MS remains a continued clinical concern, particularly because depression is highly co-occurring in those with the disease. Understanding the predictors of stress will hopefully provide more knowledge on how to best support caregivers and family members living with MS. This study sought to determine which factors increase or mitigate stress in caregivers of family members with MS. These factors were the level of depressive symptoms, perceived social support, level of coping processes, and patient care satisfaction from the caregiver’s perspective. A total of 40 caregiver participants completed an online survey targeting these factors. The results showed that the level of depressive symptoms was the only variable that predicted the level of perceived stress among caregivers. Thus, depression remains an important clinical consideration in the MS population and their caregivers. Future research should specifically explore the types of coping methods and other factors that predict stress in family caregivers in order to support this population.