A rheumatic disease can severely impair a person’s quality of life. The degree of impairment, however, is not closely related to objective indicators of disease severity. This study investigated the influence and the interplay of core psychological factors, i.e., personality and coping, on life satisfaction in patients with rheumatic diseases. Particularly, it was tested whether coping mediates the effects of personality on life satisfaction. In a cross-sectional design, 158 patients diagnosed with a rheumatic disease completed questionnaires assessing the Big 5 personality traits (BFI-10), several disease-related coping strategies (EFK) and life satisfaction (HSWBS). Data were analyzed using a complex multiple mediation analysis with the Big 5 personality traits as predictors, coping strategies as mediators and life satisfaction as outcome. All personality traits and seven of the nine coping strategies were associated with life satisfaction (rs > |0.16|, ps ≤ 0.05). The mediation analysis revealed that personality traits had no direct, but rather indirect effects on life satisfaction through coping. Neuroticism had a negative indirect effect on life satisfaction through less active problem solving and more depressive coping (indirect effects > −0.03, ps < 0.05). Extraversion, agreeableness, and conscientiousness had positive indirect effects on life satisfaction through more active problem solving, less depressive coping and/or a more active search for social support (indirect effects > 0.06, ps < 0.05). Personality and coping play a role in adjustment to rheumatic diseases. The interplay of these variables should be considered in psychological interventions for patients with rheumatic diseases.
Big 5 personality traits Coping Life satisfaction Mediation Rheumatic diseases
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Compliance with ethical standards
Participation was voluntary and anonymous. The study was approved by the Ethical Committee of the Bremen State Chamber of Physicians.
No funding was received for this study.
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