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The psychology of rheumatic diseases.

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  • 1Unit of Health Psychology, UCL, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences, 2nd Floor, London W1N 8AA, UK.


Most chronic rheumatological disorders require major psychological adaptation, and levels of psychological distress among those with rheumatological disease have been found to be higher than in the general population. Research suggests that the relationship between disease severity, disablement and psychological well-being is not simple. This chapter highlights the complex nature of this relationship and will indicate, in particular, how psychological factors can impact on patients' perceptions of their symptoms and physical functioning. Psychological concepts that may mediate between the disease and its consequences are also discussed. A range of psychosocial interventions have been developed for individuals with rheumatological disorders. Most have related to rheumatoid arthritis, and although their primary focus has usually been on alleviating pain and improving physical functioning, this chapter examines their impact on psychological well-being. It also discusses a number of methodological issues that need to be addressed in this area of work.

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