The emotional and psychological concerns of rheumatoid arthritic women

This descriptive study investigated the areas of psychological and emotional concerns encountered by women afflicted with rheumatoid arthritis. Four primary areas were determined: 1) the common problem areas subjects face due to their arthritic condition: 2) the feelings subjects encounter and with which they must learn to cope; 3) the means rheumatoid arthritic women choose to help in dealing with the problems they face because of their illness; and 4) whether subjects studied perceive psychotherapy as a choice of treatment in the management of their arthritis and, if so, how successful they considered it. Twenty women in the Southern California area participated in the study. All subject were between the ages of 18 and 40. Anonymous questionnaires were completed by these women. Results indicated the areas of greatest concern were problems within the subjects’ marriages and families. Problems which existed prior to a woman’s contracting rheumatoid arthritis were amplified when she became ill. Anger and depression were the two strongest emotions subjects encountered. A majority of subjects cited talking with their physicians as the primary way they chose to help them deal with the problems associated with their arthritic condition. More than 50% of the women studied had chosen psychotherapy as a treatment in the management of their disease; all felt this to be a successful mode of treatment.