Arthritis beliefs and self-care in an urban American Indian population
Article first published online: 12 DEC 2002
Copyright © 2002 by the American College of Rheumatology
Arthritis Care & Research
Volume 47, Issue 6, pages 588–594, 15 December 2002
How to Cite
Kramer, B. J., Harker, J. O. and Wong, A. L. (2002), Arthritis beliefs and self-care in an urban American Indian population. Arthritis & Rheumatism, 47: 588–594. doi: 10.1002/art.10795
- Issue published online: 12 DEC 2002
- Article first published online: 12 DEC 2002
- Manuscript Accepted: 10 MAR 2002
- Manuscript Received: 19 JUL 2001
- Arthritis Foundation, Southern California Chapter
- Veterans Affairs, Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, Sepulveda Ambulatory Care Center and Nursing Home
- Native Americans;
- joint pain;
- health beliefs;
To describe beliefs and self-care strategies of American Indians with chronic arthritis joint pain.
In-depth interviews were conducted with a convenience sample of urban-dwelling American Indians (n = 56) concerning self-care and beliefs about arthritis; objective measures of arthritis disease activity were obtained through standardized interview protocols.
Joint pain was not generally assumed to be arthritis nor directly related to aging. Belief that chronic pain affecting multiple joints was a serious and unexpected condition oriented American Indians' decisions to seek medical attention. However, verbal communications about pain may be subtle or under emphasized. Few coping strategies were used to control either chronic or episodic pain.
Chronic arthritis pain may not be optimally managed in this population. Cultural assessment should recognize that American Indian patients may understate serious symptoms. Community educational interventions should target this population to enhance self-care, pain management, and communication of arthritis symptoms to physicians.