Research interrupted: The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on multiple sclerosis research in the field of rehabilitation and quality of life
Block, Valerie J.
Zackowski, Kathy M.
von Geldern, Gloria
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Maguire, Rebecca, Hynes, Sinead, Seebacher, Barbara, Block, Valerie J, Zackowski, Kathy M, Jonsdottir, Johanna, Finlayson, Marcia, Plummer, Prue, Freeman, Jennifer, Giesser, Barbara, von Geldern, Gloria, Ploughman, Michelle. (2021). Research interrupted: The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on multiple sclerosis research in the field of rehabilitation and quality of life. Multiple Sclerosis Journal - Experimental, Translational and Clinical, 7(3), doi: 10.1177/20552173211038030
Background The COVID-19 pandemic has likely had a negative impact on rehabilitation and quality of life (QoL) research in multiple sclerosis (MS). Method We explored perceived barriers to research among 87 researchers, representing 18 countries, both prior to and since COVID-19. Results A Wilcoxon signed-rank test found that significantly more researchers reported experiencing barriers to research since the onset of the pandemic compared to pre-COVID-19 (p < .001), with 78% of respondents reporting at least some barriers since COVID-19. The most commonly-cited barriers related to participant access (n = 38) and interruptions/delays to projects (n = 19). Although no gender differences were found in the number of barriers reported, female respondents were more likely to cite time or competing demands as barriers to research. Females were also more likely to perceive being negatively impacted by the pandemic compared to other genders (p = .007). Conclusions Implications for the future landscape of rehabilitation research in MS are discussed.