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Change in knowledge and self-efficacy of patients with rheumatoid arthritis: A six-month follow-up study

Authors

  • Paula Mäkeläinen RN MNSc,

    Corresponding author
    1. PhD student, Department of Nursing Science, University of Kuopio, Kuopio, and Rheumatism Foundation, Heinola, Finland
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  • Katri Vehviläinen-Julkunen RN PhD,

    1. Professor, Department of Nursing Science, University of Kuopio, and Kuopio University Hospital, Kuopio, Finland
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  • Anna-Maija Pietilä RN PhD

    1. Professor, Department of Nursing Science, University of Kuopio, and Kuopio Social and Health Care Centre, Kuopio, Finland
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Paula Mäkeläinen, Ilmarisenkatu 9 A 7, 50130 Mikkeli, Finland. Email: paula.makelainen@surffi.fi

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients' knowledge of the disease and its treatments and their self-efficacy changed in a 6-month period. The data were collected from 223 RA patients during August 2004–March 2005 using self-administered questionnaires. The main finding was that the patients' knowledge of exercise, joint protection and energy conservation increased and their self-efficacy strengthened over the 6-month period. However, the RA patients' general knowledge of the disease (e.g. of its aetiology) decreased significantly. Weak relationships exist between the patients' self-efficacy and their knowledge of exercise, joint protection and energy conservation. The patients who had follow-up visits during the 6-month period had slightly better knowledge levels, but their pain and other symptoms self-efficacy was weaker. It is important that nurses encourage patients to seek clarification of any unclear issues concerning their disease, and concentrate on supporting those patients whose self-efficacy is weak.

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