The Psychological Impact of Psoriatic Arthritis

MAY 27, 2016
Andrew Smith
A series of interviews indicates that psoriatic arthritis patients lack both the information they need to understand their condition and the support they need to weather its unexpectedly severe physical and emotional toll.
 
British investigators conducted semi-structured interviews with 24 adults who suffer from the condition. Their questions were informed by the Common-Sense Self-Regulation Model (CS-SRM) and their 2-stage analysis of the answers combined the coding of pre-determined CS-SRM components and the identification of additional emergent themes. Constant comparison techniques allowed patterns that spanned multiple CS-SRM components to emerge inductively from the data.
 
The people who took part in the survey represented a wide range of the psoriatic arthritis patient population. Their ages ranged from 27 years to 71 years, and the time since the onset of their illness ranged from 4 months to 29 years. Still, 4 core themes — each related to a cluster of illness beliefs — emerged: resentment, resignation, perceived restrictions and a problems dealing with others.
 
“People with psoriatic arthritis experience significant disease-related distress, including suicidal ideation,” the study authors wrote in Rheumatology. “Misperceptions, ineffective coping styles (eg, avoidance/blocking) and negative emotions should be actively identified and addressed with people with psoriatic arthritis.”
 
Many patients spoke of severe misperceptions they formed after speaking to doctors and reading about the disease after their initial diagnosis. It was common, for example, to believe the disease could be cured or that it would go away on its own.
 
Patients also spoke of their current beliefs about disease progression, many of which were almost as inaccurate, though often pessimistically inaccurate. They feared exponential degeneration of their condition.
 


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