First Advisor

Tina Burdsall

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Psychology and University Honors




Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis -- Patients -- Psychological aspects, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis -- Patients -- Services for, Caregivers -- Psychological aspects, Caregivers -- Services for




Investigation of the psychological effects of a terminal condition, wherein current care plans are primarily focused on physical rehabilitation and pain management, is crucial. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis enacts irreversible damage to the body of those diagnosed, resulting in neurodegenerative processes that cause paralysis and eventually respiratory failure. There is no known cure or cause, which eliminates many traditional treatment avenues. Though the disease wreaks havoc on the muscular systems of the body there are no direct effects that degrade mental processing, leaving the individual experiencing the condition an aware witness to their own functional loss. Creating a multidisciplinary approach inclusion of psychological care of both the person with the condition, as well as their family and caregivers, is integral to appropriately providing support. A community-based approach to caring and supporting those with ALS is integral to a comprehensive plan for addressing this terminal illness.


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