Date of Conferral





Health Services


Lawrence Fulton


Many individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS) are classified as having relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS), a form of the illness that requires constant symptom management for suffers to achieve optimum outcomes. There are only a few community-based educational programs that exist to help RRMS sufferers cope with their illness; the effectiveness of those that have been fielded has not yet been adequately assessed. The research questions of this study were to determine if an online training development module would increase the coping skills of those affected by RRMS and if the online educational module would be more effective at improving the coping skills of mild RRMS sufferers versus severe RRMS sufferers. The theoretical foundation was based on a stress-coping model commonly utilized for chronic disease management. The research design employed 2 groups, nonrandom selection, and use of a pretest/posttest applied to the target population from the Georgia MS Chapter. SPSS was used to perform statistical analysis as well as to perform the Mann-Whitney test on study data/results. According to findings from this quantitative study, the application of the online education development module to RRMS sufferers does provide a mechanism of significantly improving their coping skills. This positive social change improvement of coping strategies helps the patients as well as family, friends, and coworkers, and this module would serve as the complement to augment coping strategy improvement efforts for RRMS suffers. This study supports improvement of RRMS sufferer coping skills in the short term, and a future area of research focus would address the long-term improvements in coping skills for RRMS sufferers from the application of this online module.