The favourable or unfavourable process of a patient’s adaptation to a challenging medical condition may indicate that certain adjustment reactions, which can be either constructive or undesirable, tend to prevail.

The aim of the study was to examine the adjustment reactions of patients, and to define the correlation between the reactions and socio-demographic factors, health self-assessment, satisfaction with medical care, duration of treatment, and limitations in women treated for rheumatoid arthritis.

Material and methods:
The study was conducted at the Department of Rheumatology and Connective Tissue Diseases and the Specialist Outpatient Clinic of the Independent Public Teaching Hospital No. 4 in Lublin, Poland. The Polish adaptation of the Reactions to Impairment and Disability Inventory RIDI (H. Livneh, R. Antonak, 1990) was used in the study, together with an Original Questionnaire. A p-value of <0.05 was set to define statistical differences. Analysis was performed using commercial SPSS Statistics software (IBM Corp., Armonk, NY).

Adjustment reactions, adaptive reactions, i.e. adjustment (3±0.5) and acknowledgement (2.6±0.4) were found to markedly prevail, while the lowest mean value was observed for denial (1.9±0.4), which was considered a negative reaction. Longer duration of the disease was associated with a lower level of external hostility. Low health self-assessment and significant limitations impairing everyday activities, caused by pain, deformity and impaired joint mobility, were mostly related to unfavourable early and intermediate non-adaptive reactions.

Knowledge of the adjustment reactions and their moderating factors appears to be crucial in the planning of measures aimed at the rehabilitation of RA patients.

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