, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 321-330

Social support and health-related quality of life in hip and knee osteoarthritis

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Objective: To document the association between social support and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in hip and knee osteoarthritis (OA). Methods: A prospective survey including the SF-36 and the Social Support questionnaire (SSQ) was administered to 108 hip and knee OA patients attending an outpatient physical rehabilitation and rheumatology clinic. Multiple regression analysis were performed to study the relation between social support and each dimension of the SF-36, controlling for age, sex, body mass index, number of comorbid conditions, socioeconomic status, site of survey completion and severity of OA which was gauged with the pain dimension of the WOMAC, an OA-specific health status instrument. Results: Greater social companionship transactions were associated with higher physical functioning (standardized regression coefficients: β = 0.26, p < 0.01), general health (β = 0.32, p < 0.001), mental health (β = 0.25, p < 0.01), social functioning (β = 0.20, p < 0.05) and vitality (β = 0.25, p < 0.05). Satisfaction with problem-oriented emotional support was related to better physical functioning (β = 0.22, p < 0.01), mental health (β = 0.38, p < 0.001), role-emotional (B = 0.23, p < 0.01), social functioning (β = 0.19, p < 0.05) and vitality (β = 0.26, p < 0.01). Conclusion: Social support components significantly account for HRQoL. Health interventions in OA, primary dedicated to pain and physical disability, could be supplemented with social support component to enhance health outcomes.