Is Coping Self-Efficacy Related to Psychological Distress in Early and Established Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients?

Jozef Benka*, Iveta Nagyova, Jaroslav Rosenberger, Zelmira Macejova, Ivica Lazurova, Jac Van der Klink, Johan Groothoff, Jitse Van Dijk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


The study aimed to explore associations between coping self-efficacy and psychological distress in early and established rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients. Two samples differing in disease duration were collected at outpatient rheumatology clinics in Eastern Slovakia. The first sample consisted of 146 established patients with disease duration of 12 years or more (age = 58.02 SD = 10.38 years; disease duration = 16.08 SD = 3.60 years; 86 % women) and the second sample consisted of 102 early RA patients with disease duration of 4 years or less (age = 53.25 SD = 12.32; disease duration = 2.8 SD = 1.23 years; 75 % women). The patients underwent a routine rheumatology check and completed questionnaires regarding functional disability, neuroticism and extraversion, coping self-efficacy and psychological distress. The data were analyzed using hierarchical linear regression models. Coping self-efficacy was significantly negatively associated with psychological distress in both samples with the strongest association with anxiety in the early RA group. These associations remained significant after controlling for sociodemographic, disease related and personality variables. Psychological distress was further associated with disease activity, functional disability, neuroticism and extraversion. However, different patterns in respect to anxiety and depression with the duration of RA was observed. Coping self-efficacy accounted for a unique variance in psychological distress even after controlling for the influence of disease activity, functional status and personality traits. The strongest association was observed with anxiety in early RA patients. As a result, management and intervention programs increasing self-efficacy for coping strategies might be beneficial for reducing anxiety and depression especially during the early phase of the disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)285-297
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of developmental and physical disabilities
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun-2014


  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Coping self-efficacy
  • PAIN

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