The Relationship between Social Loneliness and Psychological Well-being in Patients with Multiple Sclerosis: The Moderating Role of Self-compassion

Document Type : Original Article


Department of Clinical Psychology, University of Science and Culture, Tehran, Iran


Introduction: Loneliness is a common experience in people with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) which is associated with significant psychological consequences. Therefore, it is important to examine the psychological status of these patients. The aim of this study was to determine the moderating role of self-compassion in the relationship between social loneliness with psychological well-being in patients with multiple sclerosis.
Method: For this descriptive-correlational study, 200 patients with MS were selected by a convenience sampling method in the years 2019-2020. Data was collected by social loneliness of Besharat MA (2018), Self-compassion Scale of Neff KD (2003), and Psychological Well-Being Scales of Ryff's (1989). The Pearson correlation coefficient and multiple regression analysis (hierarchical method) were used for data analysis and data were analyzed using SPSS software version 23.
Results: The results showed that there was a significant negative correlation between social loneliness with psychological well-being and self-compassion. There was a significant positive correlation between psychological well-being and self-compassion. On the other hand, the results of the hierarchical regression analysis showed that self-compassion moderates the relationship between social loneliness and psychological well-being.
Conclusion: Findings revealed that self-compassion can protect people with MS from the negative psychological and social consequences associated with the disease. Therefore, self- compassion can be used as a factor in adapting to the disease and improving psychosocial health. 


  1. Dendrou CA, Fugger L, Friese MA. Immunopathology of multiple sclerosis. Nature Reviews Immunology. 2015;15(9):545-58.
  2. Takbiri S, Naziri G. Comparison of Cognitive and Linguistic Functions among Multiple Sclerosis Patients and Healthy Controls. International Journal of Behavioral Sciences. 2020;14(1):40-4.
  3. Abdollahi F, Tayebi Myaneh Z, Rashvand F. The Relationship between Perception of Illness and Health-related Behaviors in Patients with Multiple Sclerosis. Journal of Health and Care. 2019;21(2):145-55. eng.
  4. Balto JM, Pilutti LA, Motl RW. Loneliness in Multiple Sclerosis: Possible Antecedents and Correlates. Rehabilitation Nursing Journal. 2019;44(1):52-9.
  5. Mahmoodi H. Comparison of perceived social support and self-compassion among patients with multiple sclerosis and normal people. QUARTERLY JOURNAL OF HEALTH PSYCHOLOGY. 2018;7(25):21-34.
  6. Sun X, Chan DW, Chan L-k. Self-compassion and psychological well-being among adolescents in Hong Kong: Exploring gender differences. Personality and Individual Differences. 2016;101:288-92.
  7. Reyes S, Suarez S, Allen‐Philbey K, Thomson A, Giovannoni G. The impact of social capital on patients with multiple sclerosis. Acta Neurologica Scandinavica. 2020;142(1):58-65.
  8. Barker AB, das Nair R, Lincoln NB, Hunt N. Social identity in people with multiple sclerosis: a meta-synthesis of qualitative research. Social Care and Neurodisability. 2014;5(4):256.
  9. Bhagchandani RK. Effect of loneliness on the psychological well-being of college students. International Journal of Social Science and Humanity. 2017;7(1):60.
  10. Peerenboom L, Collard R, Naarding P, Comijs H. The association between depression and emotional and social loneliness in older persons and the influence of social support, cognitive functioning and personality: A cross-sectional study. Journal of affective disorders. 2015;182:26-31.
  11. Kiliçkaya C, Asi Karakaş S. The effect of illness perception on loneliness and coping with stress in patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). International Journal of Caring Sciences. 2016;9(2):481.
  12. Neff KD. The development and validation of a scale to measure self-compassion. Self and identity. 2003;2(3):223-50.
  13. Ryff CD. Happiness is everything, or is it? Explorations on the meaning of psychological well-being. Journal of personality and social psychology. 1989;57(6):1069.
  14. Khanjani M, Shahidi S, Fathabadi J, Mazaheri MA, Shokri O. Factor structure and psychometric properties of the Ryff’s scale of Psychological well-being, short form (18-item) among male and female students. Thoughts and Behavior in Clinical Psychology. 2014;9(32):27-36.
  15. DiTommaso E, Spinner B. The development and initial validation of the Social and Emotional Loneliness Scale for Adults (SELSA). Personality and Individual Differences. 1993;14(1):127-34.
  16. Hays RD, DiMatteo MR. A short-form measure of loneliness. Journal of personality assessment. 1987;51(1):69-81.
  17. Russell DW. UCLA Loneliness Scale (Version 3): Reliability, validity, and factor structure. Journal of personality assessment. 1996;66(1):20-40.
  18. Besharat MA. Social Loneliness Scale: Questionnaire, Instruction and Scoring (Farsi Version). Scientific Journal Management System. 2018;14(56):475-6.
  19. Varaee P, Momeni K, Moradi A. Self-Compassion, Attitude Towards Religion and Death Anxiety: Predictors of Psychological Well-Being in the Elderly. Scientific Journal Management System. 2018;14(56):445-60.
  20. Mohaghegh F, Moghaddasi M, Eslami M, Dadfar M, Lester D. Disability and its association with psychological factors in multiple sclerosis patients. Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders. 2021;49:102733.
  21. Rostami S, Jowkar B. The relationship between guilt and shame feelings with the dimensions of loneliness: The moderating effect of gender. International Journal of Behavioral Sciences. 2016;10(1):24-8.
  22. Nery-Hurwit M, Yun J, Ebbeck V. Examining the roles of self-compassion and resilience on health-related quality of life for individuals with Multiple Sclerosis. Disability and health journal. 2018;11(2):256-61.
  23. Fathi A. Mediating Role of Mindfulness in the Relationship between Depression, Anxiety and Stress and Psychological Well-being. Journal of Psychology. 2019;23(2):217-31. Fa.