Fatique in rheumatoid arthritis: The role of self-efficacy and problematic social support

R.P. Riemsma, Johannes J. Rasker, Erik Taal, E.N. Griep, J.M.G.W. Wouters, O. Wiegman

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OBJECTIVE: To examine the relationship of fatigue in people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) with self-efficacy, positive and problematic aspects of social support, and demographic and disease-related variables. METHOD: Out-patients with at least 5 yr RA were studied. Fatigue was measured with a visual analogue scale. Other variables included were: positive social support [Social Support List- Interactions (SSL12-I)] and problematic social support; self-efficacy towards coping with RA and towards mobilizing support; health status (Dutch-AIMS2); and laboratory tests: erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), haemoglobin (Hb) and rheumatoid factor (RF); and disease duration. RESULTS: A total of 229 out-patients were included. Fatigue correlated with all scales of the Dutch-AIMS2: with pain, physical function and affect (P < 0.001). There was no significant correlation with social support, but there was a highly significant correlation of fatigue with problematic social support (P < 0.001). Both forms of self- efficacy correlated strongly with fatigue: patients with high self- efficacy expectations towards coping with RA, and towards mobilizing the social network (P < 0.001), had less fatigue. In the regression analysis to explain the variation in fatigue, only pain, self-efficacy expectations towards coping with RA, and towards asking for help and problematic social support remained significant. CONCLUSIONS: Fatigue can to a large extent (37%) be explained by pain, self-efficacy towards coping with RA, and towards asking for help and problematic social support. It is known that self-efficacy can be enhanced by self- management courses and it may thus be possible to improve fatigue.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)1042-1046
Number of pages5
JournalBritish journal of rheumatology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1998


  • METIS-148720
  • IR-70955

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