Coping strategies observed in women with rheumatoid arthritis
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Department of Informatics and Medical Statistics with E-learning Laboratory, Medical University, Lublin, Poland
Department of Social Medicine and Public Health, Medical University, Warsaw, Poland
Cosmetology and Aesthetic Medicine Unit, Medical University, Lublin, Poland
Magdalena Bogdan   

Department of Social Medicine and Public Health, Medical University of Warsaw, Poland
When faced with a chronic disease such as rheumatoid arthritis, the patient attempts to cope with the stressful situation by applying coping strategies. The main aim of rheumatoid treatment is not only improving health but also increasing the quality of life. The research objective was to determine the relationship among socio demographic factors, duration of the disease and its associated ailments, attitude to the disease, self-assessment of one’s knowledge of RA, and the application of coping strategies in stressful situations by women with rheumatoid arthritis. The study involved 193 patients of the Clinic of Rheumatology and Systemic Connective Tissue Diseases, and the Rheumatology Unit of the Specialist Outpatient Clinic of the Independent Public Teaching Hospital No. 4 in Lublin, from November 2016 – June 2017. The Coping Orientations to Problems Experienced Inventory (COPE) Questionnaire and an author’s Original Questionnaire were used in the study. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) and Tukey’s range test were applied for statistical analysis. A p-value<0.05 defined the statistical differences. Analysis was performed using the commercial SPSS Statistics 19 software (IBM Corp., Armonk, NY, USA). The respondents usually use instrumental social support (11.5±1.7), focus on and vent emotions (11.4±1.9), use emotional social support (11.4±1.8), employ active coping (11.4±2.1) and positive reinterpretation and growth (11.2±1.8), and least often rely on their sense of humour (5.5±1.4) or use alcohol or drugs (5±1.1). The factors which determine the types of strategy used are age, education, the duration of the disease, ailments experienced, and attitude towards the disease. Those respondents who declared a greater knowledge of RA more often applied positive reinterpretation and growth, and more rarely used alcohol or drugs. In the treatment and rehabilitation processes it is important to reinforce in the patient positive expectations for the treatment, seek advantages and benefits in one’s present health status, and educate patients about the disease, its therapy and appropriate coping strategies.
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