Academic journal article Pakistan Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology

Social Support and Coping Strategies among Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients

Academic journal article Pakistan Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology

Social Support and Coping Strategies among Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients

Article excerpt

According to National Rheumatology Society of Pakistan (2008), RA is one of the most significant forms of arthritis and occurs in all ethnic groups. Gulanick and Myers (2011) defined RA as "a chronic autoimmune disease characterized by the inflammation of joints". The pattern of joints affected is usually symmetrical and RA patient suffers from stiffness of particular joints in the morning (Ebnezar, 2000).In general, it has onset between 30 to 50 years of age during individual's peak productive time. However, it progresses to 5% in females after the age of 55 (Rindfleisch & Muller, 2005). A difference in occurrence of RA was noticed in Pakistan among rural and urban districts. Hameed et ah, (1995) found a rate of 0.2% in a rich region within Karachi, which was two times the rate observed in a deprived urban region in the same city. Co-morbidity of anxiety, hypertension, depression, diabetes and low self-esteem are more common in RA patients than the general population (Panoulas etal., 2008; Walker, 2012).

RA is a combination of various aspects faced in a person's life such as changes in physical conditions, failure to carry out everyday activities, lack of finances, difficulty in social communications, troubles in family relations, and inability to deal with the symptoms of ill health (Asif et al., 2011). The progress of RA can create problems of social relations as well as concern about how the patient copes with a current condition of disease. However, a reciprocal link is present among social support and coping as these variables manipulate the physical fitness of an individual. Both social support and coping are important components that give awareness regarding how some people manage such traumatic situations in their lives.

This study examines the relationship between social support (SS) and coping strategies (CS) in the patients of RA. Both these distinguish variables (SS and CS) have an effect on future outcomes of RA and significance of life of those suffering from it (Evers, Kraaimaat, Geenen, Jacobs &Bijlsma, 2003). Social support could decrease the likelihood of RA. Support from family and friends facilitate the RA patients to stay healthy and recover from it more rapidly when they were unwell.The benefits of SS involve a sense of belonging, increased sense of self-worth and sense of security. Ramjeet (2003) revealed that it could be a hindrance as well as aid when support was needed. Individuals who are experiencing RA might require different kinds of SS during different stage of illness. Not all types of SS were usefi.il for each RA person in the same manner. Each individual might have diverse preferences for a particular type or a combination of one or two categories of SS. For instance, at times, the RA sufferer might speak about the crisis (appraisal support) or might feel healthy regarding oneself (selfesteem support). In addition, someone has brought lunch for the patient (tangible support) whereas in other circumstances, emotional support was more desired.

On the other hand, coping researchers like Taylor (2006) has observed that taking direct action often express improved adjustment to a disturbing event than doing coping efforts designed to determine the issue of denial or avoidance. Furthermore, there were evidence that active coping was associated with constructive wellbeing and additional resources of coping. For instance, people with additional personal and environmental resources, like an optimistic interpersonal approach, having lots of friends, a good profession and income, would depend more on active coping as compared to avoidant coping (Holahan & Moos, 1987). Similarly, positive reframing type of coping strategy was required to reduce the negative effect of pain in RA patients (Strand et al., 2006). Furthermore, religion as coping can promote a sense of mental and psychological wellbeing. Various studies have reported similar findings that participants used religious coping actions and activities (George, Ellison & Larson, 2002). …

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