Effects of Arthritis Exercise Program Participation on Arthritis Management Self-efficacy and Arthritis Pain Levels

Kaitlyn McManus
Truman State University

Full manuscript: www.kon.org/urc/v13/mcmanus.html

Abstract: Arthritis self-efficacy has emerged as one of the most important variables in understanding pain in people with arthritis. A convenience sample of senior adults participating (experimental) and not participating (control) in an Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program was compared to determine if there was a difference in self-efficacy and arthritis pain due to participating in the 8-week program. The results of an independent samples t-test revealed a statistically significant difference in the total mean scores of the experimental and control group for the Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain Scale, t(25) = 2.42, p = 0.02; and although the experimental group scored higher than the control group for the Arthritis Self-Efficacy Scale, t(25) = -1.40, p = 0.18, that difference was not significant. Results reinforce the importance of exercise in arthritis pain management and the need to improve patient self-efficacy to improve patient outcomes.

Introduction: Arthritis is the most common cause of disability in the United States, limiting the activities of nearly 21 million adults and projected to increase to 67 million by 2030 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2012). For millions of Americans who have some form of arthritis or a related disease, pain is chronic or long lasting. The term arthritis describes more than 100 rheumatic diseases and conditions that affect joints and other connective tissues (CDC, 2011), resulting in such problems as kidney disease, blindness, and premature death (Missouri Regional Arthritis Centers, n.d.).

Arthritis pain is chronic and potentially disabling and has pervasive adverse effects on the physical, mental, and social well-being of affected individuals. The course of chronic arthritis pain may be influenced by several factors, including the use of disease-modifying drugs, circumstances that are not controlled by doctors, social deprivation, formal education, helplessness, and social support (Brekke , Hjortdahl & Kvien, 2001). Chronic pain makes performing daily activities like cleaning the house, dressing, or looking after children more difficult and painful (Arthritis Foundation, 2012). Anxiety was more common than depression (31% and 18%, respectively); overall, one-third of respondents reported at least 1 of the 2 conditions. Most (84%) of those with depression also had anxiety (Murphy, Sacks, Brady, Hootman & Chapman, 2012).

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