Rheumatology International

, Volume 33, Issue 8, pp 2045–2052 | Cite as

Body experiences, emotional competence, and psychosocial functioning in juvenile idiopathic arthritis

  • Monica Bomba
  • Antonella Meini
  • Anna Molinaro
  • Marco Cattalini
  • Silvia Oggiano
  • Elisa Fazzi
  • Francesca Neri
  • Alessandro Plebani
  • Renata Nacinovich
Original Article


We investigated self-image, psychological functioning, and quality of life in children and adolescents with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA). Thirty-nine children with JIA were compared with 80 healthy peers. We first administered the Human Figure Drawing Test (HFDT) to all subjects; children also completed standardized questionnaires evaluating health-related quality of life (PEDSQL™ 4.0 Generic Core Scales) and the main aspects of psychological functioning: anxiety (SAFA-A) and depression (CDI). Parents were asked to complete the Child Behaviour Checklist (CBCL) and the PEDSQL™ 4.0. For each patient with JIA, clinical notes were gathered and a global disease assessment (visual analog scale––VAS) was performed. Compared to healthy peers, patients with JIA reported reduced maturity quotients at HFDT, more depressive traits, greater anxiety, and lower health-related quality of life. Among the subjects with JIA, HFDT revealed that adolescents had a greater impairment in all areas investigated. Furthermore, there was a significant correlation between the physical well-being rated by VAS and the perception of poorer quality of life in patients, mostly in the psychosocial domains. Children and adolescents with JIA exhibit emotional difficulties and a delay of psychological development leading to low self-esteem, a distorted self-image, more anxiety and depression traits, and a worse quality of life, when compared to healthy subjects.


Juvenile idiopathic arthritis Human figure Body image Psychological adjustment Quality of life Adolescence 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Monica Bomba
    • 1
  • Antonella Meini
    • 2
  • Anna Molinaro
    • 3
  • Marco Cattalini
    • 2
  • Silvia Oggiano
    • 1
  • Elisa Fazzi
    • 3
  • Francesca Neri
    • 1
  • Alessandro Plebani
    • 2
  • Renata Nacinovich
    • 1
  1. 1.Child and Adolescent Mental Health, San Gerardo HospitalUniversity of Milan BicoccaMonzaItaly
  2. 2.Pediatric Immunology and Rheumatology Unit, Pediatric ClinicUniversity of BresciaBresciaItaly
  3. 3.Unit of Child and Adolescent Neuropsychiatry, Spedali CiviliUniversity of BresciaBresciaItaly

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