Purpose: Goal was to establish whether an intervention that aims to increase goal management competencies is effective in decreasing elevated levels of depressive symptoms and increasing well-being in patients with polyarthritis.
Materials and methods: Eighty-five persons with polyarthritis and elevated levels of depressive symptoms participated in the goal management intervention consisting of six group-based meetings. A quasi-experimental design with baseline measurement, follow-up at 6 months and a reference group of 151 patients from an observational study was applied. Primary outcome was depression; secondary outcomes were anxiety, purpose in life, positive affect, satisfaction with participation, goal management strategies, and arthritis self-efficacy. A linear mixed model procedure was applied to evaluate changes in outcomes.
Results: No improvement was found for depressive symptoms and no changes were found for the secondary outcomes, except for positive affect that improved in the intervention group. This increase was mediated by an increase in goal adjustment. Furthermore, goal maintenance decreased and self-efficacy for other symptoms increased in the intervention group.
Conclusion: This study indicates that interventions designed to aid patients with arthritis with goal management skills are potentially helpful for increasing positive affect, although further studies are needed.Implications for rehabilitation People with polyarthritis have to manage their disease in combination with possibly conflicting roles and personal goals, resulting in an ongoing process of finding equilibrium in a constantly changing situation. Based on a person-focused view, the program Right on Target focused on coping with threatened activities and life goals due to arthritis. The program consisted of six group-based meetings led by a trained nurse and a personal trajectory wherein participants were stimulated to try out various behavioral options related to an own threatened activity in concordance with their personal goals. The program seemed effective in increasing flexible goal adjustment and self-efficacy and participants experienced more positive affect directly after the program and at 6-month follow-up.
- goal management strategies
- health promotion
- person-focused intervention
- Psychological well-being