Third wave cognitive behavioural therapies for people with multiple sclerosis: a scoping review

Nicolò Zarotti, Fiona Eccles, Annabel Broyd, Christine Longinotti, Amanda Mobley, Jane Simpson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)


PurposeMultiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic condition linked to a wide range of psychological difficulties. While traditional cognitive behavioural therapy has been studied extensively with people with MS, much less is known about more recent “third wave” approaches.MethodsA scoping review was carried out by performing a systematic search across MEDLINE Complete, PsycINFO, CINAHL, Academic Search Ultimate, and Cochrane Library up to January 2022.ResultsFrom an initial return of 8306 citations, 35 studies were included, 20 of which were randomised controlled trials (RCTs). These showed that four third wave approaches have been investigated with people with MS to date: acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT), mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT). MBSR and MBCT may be helpful to address a range of psychological difficulties up to three months post-intervention. However, MS-specific adaptations may be required, and more evidence is needed on longer-term effectiveness. Limited evidence is also available for DBT and ACT, but additional research is warranted before any recommendation can be made.ConclusionsAs third wave approaches keep being refined, further more rigorous investigations are needed to implement them to the benefit of people with MS.Implications for RehabilitationMultiple sclerosis is linked to a wide range of psychological difficulties in adults.Little is currently known on third wave psychotherapies for people with MS.Mindfulness-based stress reduction and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy may be helpful to address a wide range of difficulties in MS.Specific adaptations may be needed to deliver suitable therapies to people with MS.Additional research is warranted to build on preliminary findings for DBT and ACT.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1720-1735
Number of pages16
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation
Issue number10
Early online date6 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - 8 May 2023


  • Multiple sclerosis
  • third wave cognitive behavioural therapies
  • dialectical behaviour therapy
  • acceptance commitment therapy
  • mindfulness-based stress reduction

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