The relationship between psychosocial variables and measures of health status in fibromyalgia

Du Plessis M. ; Steel H.R. ; Moller A.T. (2009)


Background: Fibromyalgia is considered to be a multifactorial condition in which a number of biological and psychological variables interact. However, the exact pathogenesis and effective treatment of fibromyalgia are still unknown. In this study the relationship between psychosocial variables of self-efficacy, helplessness, perceived social support, and pain-related beliefs and several measures of health status of patients with fibromyalgia were examined. Methods: Thirty-one patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia participated in the study. Patients diagnosed with concomitant rheumatological conditions were excluded from the study. Each patient was individually assessed by the same physician in terms of functional status and pain experience and then measured on psychosocial variables in a cross-sectional study. Correlations between these psychosocial and health status variables were calculated. Results: Significant correlations were found between the psychosocial variables and health status. Consistent with previous research, self-efficacy was found to be the most important psychosocial variable in the present study, correlating with several measures of health status. Quality of social support and cognitive beliefs hardly showed any relationship with health status. Conclusions: It is recommended that self-efficacy enhancement programmes be included in the treatment of patients with fibromyalgia. However, further research is still needed to investigate the effect of self-efficacy enhancement on the overall quality of life of these patients.

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