Physical self perceptions of women with rheumatoid arthritis




To assess the reliability and validity of the Physical Self-Perception Profile (PSPP) and the Perceived Importance Profile (PIP) and to assess relationships between these scales and disease, function, and negative affect in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients.


Fifty-two women (mean ± SD age 48.4 ± 10.4 years) completed the PSPP, PIP, and other measurements: the core measures of European League Against Rheumatism; the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale; distance walked; and peak and extrapolated maximal oxygen consumption during a 10-meter shuttle walk test.


PSPP subscales showed high internal consistency (Chronbach's alpha 0.73–0.81) and factor structure and strong relationships with physical self-worth (PSW; r = 0.40–0.63). Multiple regression analysis showed that all subscales (except sport) significantly contributed to PSW variance (R2 = 59.1%). Very low PSPP scores, particularly for strength and sport competence, and PIP scores were observed in RA patients (significantly lower than US college-aged and obese women), which were reflected in low PSW scores. Aspects of PSPP were related to depression and swollen joint count but not functional fitness. Discrepancy scores were associated with lower PSW scores (r = 0.48), substantiating that subjects were unable to meet their perceptual needs concerning their physical selves.


The PSPP and PIP are both reliable and valid and are sensitive to significant constructs in the mental health of women with RA. The PSPP appears to measure distinct mental properties not represented in other common RA measures; hence it may be useful in measuring an important aspect of RA patients' psychology.