Communication between persons with multiple sclerosis and their health care providers: A scoping review

Charee M. Thompson, Manuel D. Pulido, Sara Babu, Nicole Zenzola, Chungyi Chiu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Objectives: This study undertakes a scoping review of research about communication between persons with MS and their health care providers. Design: PubMed, PsycInfo, Communication Source, Socindex, Sociological Abstracts, Cinahl, and Proquest Dissertations and Theses were used to identify studies since each database's inception. Research team members engaged in study selection, coding for communication issues, and data extraction for descriptive information. Results: Of the 419 empirical articles identified, 175 were included. Codes represented all elements of ecological and pathway models, emphasizing emerging technologies for facilitating communication, uncertainty and anxiety for persons with MS, and communication issues surrounding diagnosis, information seeking, and decision making. Conclusion: This review synthesizes and organizes influences on communication, communication processes, and health outcomes of communication for persons with MS and their providers. Findings extend the ecological model with illness context and the pathway model with communication breakdowns and provider outcomes. Practice implications: Health care providers should consider the complexity of communication when interacting with persons with MS, including the larger context in which it occurs, communication processes and their purposes, and short-term and long-term consequences of interactions. Ecological and pathway models can be frameworks for developing educational materials, as they succinctly capture key communication issues and outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3341-3368
Number of pages28
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Communication
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Patient-provider
  • Scoping review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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