Psychological interventions for people with motor neuron disease: a scoping review

Nicolò Zarotti, Emily Mayberry, Noora Ovaska-Stafford, Fiona Eccles, Jane Simpson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Motor neuron disease (MND) is a rapidly progressive neurodegenerative condition with no known cure. MND can affect every aspect of a person’s life and has been associated with a wide range of psychological difficulties, which can occur from pre-diagnosis through to the condition’s later stages. However, very little research has been conducted on psychological interventions for people with MND (pwMND). This paper aimed to provide the first review specifically targeting psychological interventions in MND and offer potential directions for future research. Methods: A scoping review was carried out across five major databases (PubMed, PsycINFO, CINAHL, Academic Search Ultimate, and Cochrane Library) until 1st of March 2020. Results: From an initial return of 1278 citations, 10 papers were included in the review. These included three randomized controlled trials (RCTs), two quasi-experiments, three uncontrolled pretest–post-test designs, one single case study, and one qualitative secondary analysis. The existing studies focused on a limited number of psychological outcomes and did not take into account site of MND onset or level of depression/anxiety before intervention. Implications for clinical practice are discussed and suggestions for future research are provided. Conclusions: The literature on psychological interventions is still extremely sparse. Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) based on the stress-coping model show promise in RCTs, but require further evaluation. The need for further development and evaluation of psychological interventions to improve the well-being of pwMND cannot be overstated, particularly as the struggle toward the discovery of an effective treatment for MND continues.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalAmyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Frontotemporal Degeneration
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2021


  • Motor neuron diseasease
  • amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • psychotherapy
  • clinical psychology
  • psychological interventions
  • Motor neuron disease

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