Social Support, Psychosocial Needs, and Atributions of Individuals with Rheumatoid Arthritis : A Qualitative Analysis
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Rheumatoid arthritis is one of the most commonly diagnosed autoimmune diseases. The causes of this disease remain largely unknown, and individuals with this chronic illness face many psychological, social, and emotional consequences. The current study used both quantitative and qualitative methods to assess the experiences of individuals with rheumatoid arthritis, their levels of depression and anxiety, access to social support, severity of the disease symptoms and the participants’ willingness to access support groups. Thirteen interviews were conducted using semi-structured questions to prompt participants to share their diagnosis process, consequences of their rheumatoid arthritis, and sources of support. Participants were also asked to describe the ways that rheumatoid arthritis had affected their relationships, family, and occupational and academic functioning. In this presentation, we will discuss the initial results of our analysis of the qualitative data using a method called consensual qualitative research. The first five presenters have been involved in the core coding group and the mentor has served as the auditor. The first analysis of the data revealed that many participants sought out various types of formal and informal support when dealing with their rheumatoid arthritis. In addition, participants expressed reservations about joining formal support groups, which may have been precipitated by a lack of referrals from their diagnosing physicians and limited awareness of the comorbid mental health issues associated with rheumatoid arthritis. We will discuss the results of the data that are general, typical, and variant among the thirteen participants.
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