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Lay Perspectives of Quality of Life in Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients: The Relevance of Autonomy and Psychological Distress

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Abstract

The aim of this study is to increase the understanding of Quality of Life (QoL) in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients and explore the personal features of living with the disease. Sixty-two RA patients (MAge = 56.7; SD = 11.2; female = 83.9%) were interviewed. Assessment included topics on medical condition, functional status (HAQ-DI), and on their perceived difficulties and worries in having RA. Patients’ overall definition of QoL was also inquired. Most patients lived with RA for a long period of time (M = 16.5 years; SD = 11.6) and presented moderate HAQ-DI scores (M = 1.37; SD = 0.75). Main features of QoL in RA highlight the importance given to physical health, particularly to independence and autonomy. Psychological distress emerged also as an important feature of living with RA, constraining a good QoL. Medical staff should consider the RA patients’ emotional needs, expectations, and main perceived determinants of their QoL to better help them.

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Correspondence to Natália Duarte.

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Santos, I., Duarte, N., Ribeiro, O. et al. Lay Perspectives of Quality of Life in Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients: The Relevance of Autonomy and Psychological Distress. Community Ment Health J 55, 1395–1401 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10597-019-00377-w

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10597-019-00377-w

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