Compliance of adolescents with rheumatoid arthritis


Helvi Kyngäs, Professor, Kagawa Medical University School of Nursing, 1750-1, Ikenobe, Ohwaza, Miki-Cho, Kida-Gun, Kagawa-Ken, Japan 761-07. Email:


The purpose of this paper is to describe the compliance of adolescents with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) and some factors connected to compliance. Three hundred individuals aged 13–17 years were randomly selected from the Finnish Social Insurance Institution's register. The questionnaires were sent to the adolescents selected from the register, to be returned directly to the researcher in a self-addressed envelope. Ninety-one percent (n = 274) returned the questionnaire. Response rate was 91%. The data were analysed using the SPSS software. Frequencies and descriptive statistics were computed. The relationship between the variables was analyzed by cross-tabulation, and the significances were tested with the chi-squared test. Eleven percent of the adolescents with JRA felt that they complied fully with the health regimens, 42% placed themselves in the category of satisfactory compliance and the remaining 18% reported poor compliance. The lowest level of compliance was with medication; only 3% showed good compliance. The highest degree of compliance was observed for control visits to doctors or nurses. Variables such as exercise and smoking had statistically significant connections to compliance (P < 0.001). Good motivation; experience of results; a strong sense of normality; energy and willpower; support from the parents, physicians and nurses; a positive attitude towards the disease and treatment; no threat to social, physical and emotional well-being; and no fears of complications or uncontrolled pain explained good compliance (P < 0.001).