Background: Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a common cause of neurologic disability in young adults. Individuals with MS deal with the day-to-day effects of the disease on their lives. Self-management can help with these challenges. This study aimed to explore MS self-management needs according to experiences of persons with MS and was conducted as part of a research project to develop an MS self-management mobile application.
Methods: We used a qualitative method to elicit self-management needs among 12 individuals with MS and conducted semistructured interviews with them. The participants were chosen based on snowball sampling. The interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim. Finally, qualitative data were analyzed using a content analysis method (inductive way) to identify the underlying themes and subthemes.
Results: The analysis resulted in the emergence of seven themes: the source of information, basic needs, understanding MS, physical exercises in MS, useful nutrition in MS, MS monitoring, and communication. Within these seven themes we identified 23 subthemes.
Conclusions: The themes that emerged in this study show what needs are essential to help persons with MS improve their self-management capacity. These findings can help in the development of self-management mobile applications for supporting individuals in managing MS.