News Release

Kessler pilot study demonstrates benefits of wellness program for people with MS

Positive findings for mood, mental health, and stress warrant further studies

Peer-Reviewed Publication

Kessler Foundation

West Orange, NJ. September 22, 2014. Kessler researchers have published a pilot study showing the benefits of a 10-week psychoeducational wellness program in people with multiple sclerosis (MS). Improvements were seen in mood, overall mental health, perceived stress, and pain. "Development and effectiveness of a psychoeducational wellness group for individuals living with MS: Description and outcomes" was epublished ahead of print on September 3 in the International Journal of MS Care (doi: 10.7224/1537-2073.2013-045). The authors are Kimberly Beckwith McGuire, PhD, of Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation, and Jelena Stojanovic-Radic, PhD, Lauren Strober, PhD, Nancy Chiaravalloti, PhD, and John DeLuca, PhD, of Kessler Foundation.

Of the 54 patients enrolled in the study, 43 participated in the program, which consisted of weekly 90-minute sessions for 10 weeks. The program's objective was to increase awareness of intellectual, emotional and spiritual factors that affect well-being. Participants were assessed by self-report for depression, anxiety, overall mental health, perceived stress, cognitive complaints, pain, social support and fatigue. The 11 participants who did not participate served as the control group.

"Our preliminary findings suggest that individuals with MS may benefit from a comprehensive wellness program," said Dr. McGuire. "In light of these positive findings for mood, mental health, and stress, further studies are warranted," she noted. "To confirm these results, larger, randomized controlled trials with longer followup need to be conducted." The study did not reveal any differences between participants and non-participants for cognitive complaints, social support or fatigue.


The study was funded in part by the National MS Society (MB 0024) and Kessler Foundation.

About Kessler Foundation

Kessler Foundation, a major nonprofit organization in the field of disability, is a global leader in rehabilitation research that seeks to improve cognition, mobility and long-term outcomes, including employment, for people with neurological disabilities caused by diseases and injuries of the brain and spinal cord. Kessler Foundation leads the nation in funding innovative programs that expand opportunities for employment for people with disabilities. For more information, visit;;

About Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation

Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation is one of only eight federally designated Model Systems for the treatment and research of both traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury, a distinction shared with Kessler Foundation. Kessler Institute also leads the field in the care and treatment for stroke, neurological diseases, amputation, orthopedic and musculoskeletal conditions and cardiac recovery. Ranked as one of the top two rehabilitation hospitals in the nation and best in the greater New York/New Jersey metropolitan area by U.S. News & World Report, Kessler has three hospital campuses in West Orange, Saddle Brook and Chester, N.J., and more than 85 outpatient centers throughout the state. For more information, visit


Lauren Scrivo, 973.324.8384, 973.768.6583 - c,

Carolann Murphy, 973.324.8382,

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.