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Patient Educ Couns. 1993 May;20(2-3):101-20.

Social support, rheumatoid arthritis and quality of life: concepts, measurement and research.


In recent years, medical technology has improved considerably and the possibilities to replace destroyed parts of the body that have been affected by rheumatoid arthritis (RA), have grown also. However, the availability and application of advanced techniques does not automatically entail an improvement of quality of life of individuals. Although the physical (dis)ability of RA patients very often leads to certain restrictions, it is not the only element in the evaluation of life-as-a-whole. The way in which the RA-patient copes with the uncertainty of tomorrow and the management of pain and fatigue is another important element in evaluating quality of life. Beside personality factors, social network and social support are regarded to play an important role in this respect and subsequently in the well-being of individuals in general, and especially where it concerns individuals suffering from a chronic disease. Today, a growing number of evidence of the beneficial impact of social support is available some of which are discussed.

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