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J Rheumatol. 2007 Feb;34(2):359-67.

Medical signs and symptoms associated with disability, pain, and psychosocial adjustment in systemic sclerosis.

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychology, San Diego State University, CA 92120-4913, USA. malcarne@psychology.sdsu.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To examine physician-assessed medical signs and patient-reported medical symptoms as correlates of 3 quality of life (QOL) outcomes in patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc): disability, pain, and psychosocial adjustment.

METHODS:

One hundred fourteen patients with SSc underwent a comprehensive clinical examination including determination of skin thickening [Modified Rodnan Skin Score (MRSS)]. Patients reported current symptoms and completed standardized questionnaires assessing disability and pain (Health Assessment Questionnaire) and psychosocial adjustment (Psychosocial Adjustment to Illness Scale). Regression analysis was used to examine physician-determined and patient-reported correlates of the 3 outcomes.

RESULTS:

MRSS was a significant correlate of all outcomes, although it explained only a small amount of the variance in psychosocial adjustment. Patient-reported postprandial bloating was the strongest correlate of psychosocial adjustment, explaining more than twice as much variance as MRSS. After accounting for MRSS, patient-reported dependent edema significantly correlated with all outcomes. For disability, significant correlates were physician-determined joint tenderness and number of tender points, and patient-reported joint pain on motion, joint contracture, extremity ulcers other than digital, and dyspnea. Patient-reported joint tenderness was significantly associated with pain. Regression analysis supported a model in which disability and pain mediated the relationship between MRSS and psychosocial adjustment.

CONCLUSION:

Skin score is strongly associated with disability and pain, but only weakly associated with psychosocial adjustment. Dependent edema has negative implications across quality-of-life outcomes. Disability and pain mediate the relationship between disease severity and psychosocial adjustment to disease. Assessment (including self-report of patient symptoms) of specific medical signs and symptoms may indicate SSc patients experiencing diminished QOL.

PMID:
17304659
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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