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BMJ Open. 2018 Nov 8;8(11):e022701. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2018-022701.

My life with lupus: contextual responses of African-American women with systemic lupus participating in a peer mentoring intervention to improve disease self-management.

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Department of Public Health Sciences, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina, USA.
Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Rockville, Maryland, USA.
Department of Sociology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA.
Department of Medicine, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA.
Division of Rheumatology and Immunology, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina, USA.
Rheumatology Section, Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center, Charleston, South Carolina, USA.



The current article seeks to examine the ways in which African-American women with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) describe their disease experience and how they cope with their disease. This qualitative study provides deeper insight into whether experiences of African-American women with SLE differ from previous qualitative study findings.


Qualitative data were gathered using interviews and a focus group, from participants in the Peer Approaches to Lupus Self-management (PALS) programme. Data were analysed for themes related to disease experience and how participants cope with their disease. Twenty-seven African-American women with SLE were recruited into the peer mentoring programme, of which 7 served as mentors and 20 served as mentees. A 12-week peer mentoring intervention delivered by phone and based on the Chronic Disease Self-Management and Arthritis Self-Management Programs.


Three categories encompassing a total of 10 subcategories emerged from analyses: (A) interpersonal, familialandromantic relationships; (B) individual experiences of living with SLE; and (C) physician-patient relationships.


We gained insight on several issues related to patient perspectives of African-American women with SLE, and the context surrounding their thoughts and feelings related to lupus, including their providers, families and other social support networks. Additional research efforts could explore and address the thematic domains and respective subthemes identified here. Although limited due to the preliminary nature of the study, this information can be used to create future evidence-based interventions to decrease the impact of SLE on African-American patients.


African American women; behavioral intervention; peer mentoring; qualitative; self-management; systemic lupus erythematosus

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