ISSUES AND INNOVATIONS IN NURSING PRACTICE
Confronting life with rheumatoid arthritis
Article first published online: 1 APR 2003
Journal of Advanced Nursing
Volume 42, Issue 2, pages 125–133, April 2003
How to Cite
Melanson, P. M. and Downe-Wamboldt, B. (2003), Confronting life with rheumatoid arthritis. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 42: 125–133. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2648.2003.02595.x
- Issue published online: 1 APR 2003
- Article first published online: 1 APR 2003
- Submitted for publication 8 July 2002 Accepted for publication 7 January 2003
- stress emotions;
- rheumatoid arthritis;
- content analysis
Background. Older people with rheumatoid arthritis are confronted with a variety of chronic stressors on a daily basis. Living with rheumatoid arthritis means learning to cope with physical limitations, fatigue, losing mobility and independence, pain, uncertainty and role changes related to periods of exacerbation and remission. There is a paucity of literature that addresses the stress and coping processes over time for older people who have had rheumatoid arthritis since midlife.
Aim. The purpose of this study was to identify and describe, at three points in time and over two 6-month intervals, the illness-related stressors perceived by older people diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis since midlife; their stress-related emotions and the coping strategies they used to manage the illness-related stressors.
Methods. A longitudinal, descriptive design was used to assess older people's perceptions of illness-related stress, their stress emotions and the coping strategies used to manage the illness-related stressors.
Findings. The majority of participants most frequently identified physical limitations as their illness-related stressors, harm as the stress emotion they experienced, and use of confrontive coping strategies to manage the stress associated with rheumatoid arthritis.
Conclusions. The findings provide nurses with a better understanding of the experiences, emotions and coping strategies used by older people to manage the adversity of rheumatoid arthritis in daily living.