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Phase 5 Individual Project Colorado Technical University Online SOCL350-1203b-02: Social Psychology Dr. Deborah Wheeler Christopher B. Lane Reused work recently submitted on the following dates: 09/12/12, 09/16/12; the course code: SOCL350-1203b-02: Social Psychology; the instructor’s name: Dr. Deborah Wheeler



MS Behavior Observation

1. Introduction of the MS Behavior Observation in other people. A. What is their behavior after finding out they have something that cannot be cured? They are in shock to find out they have a debilitating condition, and there is nothing they can do to get rid of it (University of Washington Medical Center, 2004). Imagine for a moment if you were diagnosed with something that you have no way of getting rid of it (University of Washington Medical Center, 2004) . B. Do they feel they have no hope? At first, they do not have hope. This type of condition is extremely tough to deal with. Imagine the pain you deal with is constant, and there is nothing that will take it away (National Multiple Sclerosis Society, 2012) (University of Washington Medical Center, 2004) (Williams, 2012). Imagine having your own defense mechanism attacking you, with no reason (National Multiple Sclerosis Society, 2012) (Williams, 2012) (University of Washington Medical Center, 2004). 2. My observation of these people and their behavior towards this invisible disease. A. I will be observing their demeanor or their reaction to their diagnosis. When I start a support group meeting, I like to get the members involved by asking what was their reaction to the diagnosis; by getting their



reaction will help to determine where I need to start to make them feel at ease from the anxiety of having to deal with something that will affect them for the rest of their life (University of Washington Medical Center, 2004). The dress code for the meeting is casual, because you would want to feel as comfortable as possible. Generally, I will notice a few members wearing sweat pants, and a shirt. B. Do they feel terrified upon hearing the news? Absolutely, they feel terrified of the situation. Doctor telling you have a condition that is terminal that is not easy to deal with (Williams, 2012). Upon hearing the news, I had two conditions that are terminal, and there is no cure is extremely hard to deal with, and I had no one I could turn too that would understand, I felt helpless, and that is why I am doing these support groups, to give these people hope (Williams, 2012). 3. My hypothesis: Speaking from experience, and experience first-hand on how it feels to have an invisible disease. This type of disease is not noticeable to the public. This type of disease affects the central nervous system, the brain, and the optic nerves. Imagine for a moment, your memory fades, your eyesight is affected, your walk, and your balance is affected, and there is nothing you can do to stop it (Williams, 2012). 4. Observation in the first hour of the meeting, and the second hour of the meeting. Observing the first hour, and the members are listening to what you have to say about MS, and then, you tell the members that you have both conditions is what makes them realize, if you can get around, and fight with two conditions, then,



they realize only having one will not be too bad (University of Washington Medical Center, 2004). A. Carefully watching their reaction as they enter the meeting area. When I observe the members of the support group meeting, they tend to wonder what they will expect when they come in. When the members come in there will be some members that will be older, then you will have some that will be younger, because MS does not have a certain age to go by, because MS can be hereditary, and it can come at out you in different ways, and they are: infectious, hereditary, and immunologic (National Multiple Sclerosis Society, 2012). B. Do they seem happy, sad, excited, and anxious, or what’s their expression like? The members’ behavior will vary depending on how long the person has had MS (University of Washington Medical Center, 2004). C. Discuss the options they may have with this disease, and let them know there is hope. What I like to do in this situation is give them options on what they can do to help them cope with their diagnosis, keep in mind, I mention to them, I am not a doctor, but an actual person who has the condition, and what I do to help myself with MS (University of Washington Medical Center, 2004). The first thing, I would say is, pick up a hobby such as horseback riding (University of Washington Medical Center, 2004). Believe me horseback riding is good therapy for someone that has MS, because I have horses, and it helps me, but I would mention to consult with their doctor before starting something like that (University of Washington Medical Center, 2004). D. Cautiously observing them to see what stage they are in, and watch their outlook on it. Taking a moment during the support group meeting by asking members what stage their



MS is in (University of Washington Medical Center, 2004). Then, I tell them what stage I am in, which, it has progressed to a new stage, and that is Primary Progressive MS, and what this means, when I have a relapse, there will not be any plateaus with my condition, because the MS will continue to relapse over a period of time, and I let them know that my chance of going into remission will not happen ( "Multiple Sclerosis", 2011). E. Offering them a program guide to look at as they listen to each speaker get up and tell how they handle their MS (University of Washington Medical Center, 2004). Giving out literature will allow new members and the people who are attending the meeting, because they have a loved one or a friend that has MS, and they want to learn more about the debilitating condition (University of Washington Medical Center, 2004). F. Offering the members a summary on what to expect, and let them know there are refreshments available if they would like to get something before the meeting starts. G. The expression on the members faces when the meeting has concluded. Do they have more hope for a long and prosperous life after the meeting? It is surprising they have more hope after they hear me talking about my two conditions.

5. Analyze the observations being conducted, and come up with an analysis of the meeting from the expression on their faces. A. What are the norms before the meeting started, and what was the behavior? Some of the norms would be; they are frightened to a certain degree, and would like to have answers that will help them (University of Washington Medical Center, 2004).



B. What does their activity consist of, by a show of hands? Asking the members of the meeting to show hands on what they do as far as activities with their disease. C. Is there any structure among their behavior from the analysis from the two conducted studies? There is structure of their behavior when there is a life changing event. D. How do the MS sufferers respond to the life changing diagnosis? They have a hard time dealing with the life changing disease, because they do not know what to do, and they are afraid to try something, because the fear of falling from losing their balance. E. What was the final conclusion to the study of the person(s) behavior after the meeting was over with? They have hope, and knowingly, they have a different approach. Let’s face it, MS is a force to be reckon with, and it does not show any mercy towards the person who is suffering, and how do I know, I deal with it every day. F. Will there be any changes on the way they look at their situation? The changes will have to depend on each member. The conclusion of the meeting, I will have members to come up and hug me, and tell me how grateful they are by holding these support groups to give them hope, and I receive thousands of emails a day from members stating they thoroughly enjoy me coming to speak to them. To me, that mean a lot, if I can inspire others, and give them hope, it is winning half the battle. The setting of the support group meeting will vary depending on the geographical location, and the city I am in. The bigger the city, the more people will come out to the support



group. Collectively, I will identify new approaches and theories, based upon each support group that I host. Their behavior will also be noted, and devise a way to make it go smoothly as time goes on. Noticeably, the behavior will deviate from the sense of hopelessness, to a sense of hope, and how to cope with MS. My goal is to have the support group to be held where there will be over 1 million members, because by spreading the word it will make people more aware of this condition, and that way they will not be so quick to say, all it is stress, and you only need to exercise more, because that is not the case. Some people in society do not know nothing about MS, and all they know there are celebrities that have it.

The members learned how to cope with their condition once the support group meeting has concluded. The meeting will last anywhere from 2-3 hours depending on the location, and the members who attend, because everyone will be offered an opportunity to come up and give their testimony on how they got MS, and then, I am usually last to get up, and share my experience. Giving someone hope, and tell them to not give up from somewhat who does not have it, will not help in this situation, because they cannot relate to the condition. Although, it is appreciated, but they just cannot understand unless they have it, and the day to day struggles that is associated with MS.

What theories did you create or consider by doing this study, and how would you go about furthering your study of human behavior through this technique? Explain. The theories, I came up with was; that people have come from different walks of life, and in some way, we all meet here together as a whole with MS. Although, the behavior of each person will vary, depending on how a person can cope with their life-changing diagnosis; it is



often perceive as someone being drunk, but in reality, it is about the self-acceptance of the individual. Society cannot determine a person’s behavior, because of the disturbing news that they have received. The future of the human behavior will always be sought out by a profession, unless, there is a cure coming soon.

What did you learn about social psychology and the differences between styles of research? Explain. What I have learned from the differences that is relevant to my condition, there will always be someone that will experience their situation entirely different. The one thing, I have discovered that has helped others, and that is if they talk to each other, where there are more than four people in a group, which they get a difference in opinion, and what has helped them through this debilitating condition. When, I started out, I did not have anyone I can say that can help me, although, it is helpful to have other people giving their views, and that is the reason I got involved in doing support groups. You can always learn a lot from someone that may have had MS for a while. Which do you think is most beneficial in studying group behavior? Why? The most beneficial is seeing the before and after of a member in the support group handle difficult days. You may be asking yourself, handling difficult days. When the member has a relapse, and they may have difficulty discussing their experience, and then when you come back to that city, and you see that member was able to talk about how they handle that situation, in the mere hopes it would help someone else. Sharing the personal experiences with MS will help others in the coping process, and that is what I mention to each member in the support group. It is vitally important to offer someone advice, or ways to handle the situation.



In conclusion, MS affects people in so many ways, and it interrupts you in so many ways. Some people are so quick to think you are drunk, when you are not drunk, because you have MS. Prime example: Just the other day, I was going to this restaurant, and I saw two teenagers looking at me as I lost my balance, and started to fall, their first initial reaction that I am drunk, so they decide to call the police. The police show up, and ask if I have been drinking, and they proceed to give me a breathalyzer, which the results came back negative for alcohol intoxication, which it humiliated me. Then the police ask if I was under the influence of illegal drugs, then, I politely mentioned to the officer, I will call my Neurologist and have him explain to you that I have a medical condition that affects my balance, and the way I walk. Called my Neurologist, and put it on speaker mode for the officer could hear it, and I would see his face, when he hears I have MS. My Neurologist told the officer that Christopher Lane has MS, and Parkinson’s disease, and he is under my care. The officer did not say a word, and got back in his cruiser, and drove away without apologizing. Which this all extends from the two teenagers stereotyping me as being a drunk, when I have MS. The public does not understand about MS, and at times it is difficult to go out in public with this type of condition. This has been by far, the toughest challenge; I have ever had to endure.



References Multiple Sclerosis. (2011). What is Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis? Retrieved from National Multiple Sclerosis Society. (2012). What is Multiple Sclerosis? Retrieved from University of Washington Medical Center. (n.d). Coping with Multiple Sclerosis—Strategies for you and your family. Retrieved from Williams. (2012). Understanding Multiple Sclerosis. Retrieved from