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Addressing Mental Health in Rheumatoid Arthritis Through Illness Perception

Christy Calvert, Dr. Leann Laubach, Department of Nursing, University of Central Oklahoma, 100 N. University Dr., Edmond, Oklahoma, 73034

Background: Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is a chronic illness with physical and mental effects. The primary focus of RA treatment is physical manifestations such as swollen joints and pain. RA has a high prevalence of comorbidity with depression with little attention given to this aspect of RA. This is unfortunate as depression can impact the treatment outcomes for patients with RA. There are many factors involved with depression, however illness perception was found to have an impact on the mental health of RA patients. Ideally, improving patient’s illness perception toward their diagnosis will improve mental health outcomes, and lead to better treatment outcomes. Purpose: The purpose of this study is to determine if patient education will improve illness perception in patients with RA. Intervention: The intervention is an in-depth packet of RA education materials, written at a fifth-grade level, covering physical and psychological aspects of RA. It will also include information on resources, medications and methods for managing RA. This study will utilize a pre-test Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale (DASS) and an Illness Perception Questionnaire-Revised (IPQ-R) to establish a baseline. After baseline testing, the intervention of patient education with eight weeks to review the material is provided, followed by a post-test DASS and IPQ-R to determine if the intervention improved illness perception and mental health. Conclusions: Current patient education is brief, written at a college level and not holistic. Providing patients with a comprehensive packet of understandable information can arm patients with the insight and knowledge to understand of RA and what is happening to them. By improving patient knowledge of RA, it improves the perception of their illness thereby improving their mental health and treatment outcomes. Keywords: rheumatoid arthritis, mental health, nursing, patient perception, suicide, pain, depression, anxiety, quality of life, grief, chronic illness




Additional Abstract Information

Presenter: Christy Calvert

Institution: University of Central Oklahoma

Type: Poster

Subject: Nursing & Public Health

Status: Approved


Time and Location

Session: Poster 9
Date/Time: Wed 12:00pm-1:00pm
Session Number: 6034