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Soc Sci Med. 1988;27(4):399-403.

Social relationships and psychological well-being in rheumatoid arthritis.

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  • 1Nuffield College, University of Oxford, England.


This study examines the social relationships of a sample of 158 patients attending a hospital rheumatology clinic with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Scores of the sample were compared with those of other samples on the Interview Schedule for Social Interaction (ISSI). In addition the effects of severity of disease activity and of disability upon social relationships were examined. Diffuse social relationships such as with friends and acquaintances, rather than more intimate ones appear to be more affected in individuals with RA. Psychological well-being was assessed by means of two measures. The more favourably patients scored for social relationships, the more favourable were their scores for psychological well-being using both scores. More diffuse social relationships were more strongly correlated with psychological well-being than were the scores for more intimate relationships. Despite the strong effects of social relationships upon well-being, no buffering action on the effects of disability upon well-being were found.

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