Association between coping and psychological distress in RA

Department of Rheumatology & the Department of clinical and health psychology - The Netherlands (The Eular Journal)

Taken from NRAS magazine, Winter 2011

The aim of this study review was to determine from all the relevant previous studies the evidence for helpful or less helpful coping strategies in relation to the impact of rheumatoid arthritis and the possible long term outcomes in psychological distress. The selection criteria for analysis was rigorous; from an initial 2605 possible studies published in English, German, French or Dutch, 19 were identified as meeting the required selection criteria. The link between coping strategies and future psychological distress has scarcely been reviewed and the ultimate outcome is to influence advice and support given to patients during the management of their care.

The findings indicate that coping is hardly associated with a later possible change in psychological distress. However, to a limited extent, avoiding the issues that rheumatoid arthritis brings with it, as a way of coping, rather than approaching the problems as they arise gives an indication of who may and may not show a change in psychological distress as time progresses.