Is Coping Self-Efficacy Related to Psychological Distress in Early and Established Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients?

  • Jozef BenkaEmail author
  • Iveta Nagyova
  • Jaroslav Rosenberger
  • Zelmira Macejova
  • Ivica Lazurova
  • Jac Van der Klink
  • Johan Groothoff
  • Jitse Van Dijk


The study aimed to explore associations between coping self-efficacy and psychological distress in early and established rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients. Two samples differing in disease duration were collected at outpatient rheumatology clinics in Eastern Slovakia. The first sample consisted of 146 established patients with disease duration of 12 years or more (age = 58.02 SD = 10.38 years; disease duration = 16.08 SD = 3.60 years; 86 % women) and the second sample consisted of 102 early RA patients with disease duration of 4 years or less (age = 53.25 SD = 12.32; disease duration = 2.8 SD = 1.23 years; 75 % women). The patients underwent a routine rheumatology check and completed questionnaires regarding functional disability, neuroticism and extraversion, coping self-efficacy and psychological distress. The data were analyzed using hierarchical linear regression models. Coping self-efficacy was significantly negatively associated with psychological distress in both samples with the strongest association with anxiety in the early RA group. These associations remained significant after controlling for sociodemographic, disease related and personality variables. Psychological distress was further associated with disease activity, functional disability, neuroticism and extraversion. However, different patterns in respect to anxiety and depression with the duration of RA was observed. Coping self-efficacy accounted for a unique variance in psychological distress even after controlling for the influence of disease activity, functional status and personality traits. The strongest association was observed with anxiety in early RA patients. As a result, management and intervention programs increasing self-efficacy for coping strategies might be beneficial for reducing anxiety and depression especially during the early phase of the disease.


Rheumatoid arthritis Anxiety Depression Coping self-efficacy 



This work was supported by the Slovak Research and Development Agency under contract No. APVV-20-038305 (20 %) and APVV-0220-10 (60 %). Furthermore, this work was partially supported by the Agency of the Slovak Ministry of the Education for the Structural Funds of the EU, under project no. ITMS: 26220120058 (20 %).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jozef Benka
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Iveta Nagyova
    • 1
    • 3
  • Jaroslav Rosenberger
    • 1
    • 3
    • 4
  • Zelmira Macejova
    • 5
  • Ivica Lazurova
    • 5
  • Jac Van der Klink
    • 6
  • Johan Groothoff
    • 6
  • Jitse Van Dijk
    • 1
    • 6
  1. 1.Graduate School Kosice Institute for Society and HealthSafarik UniversityKosiceSlovak Republic
  2. 2.Department of Educational Psychology and Health Psychology, Faculty of ArtsSafarik UniversityKosiceSlovak Republic
  3. 3.Institute of Public Health - Department of Social Medicine, Medical FacultySafarik UniversityKosiceSlovak Republic
  4. 4.Transplantation DepartmentUniversity Hospital KosiceKosiceSlovak Republic
  5. 5.1st Internal Clinic, Faculty of MedicineSafarik UniversityKosiceSlovak Republic
  6. 6.Department of Community & Occupational HealthUniversity Medical Center Groningen, University of GroningenGroningenthe Netherlands

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