Confidence in Physical Ability Helps Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients

Confidence in Physical Ability Helps Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients Cope with Less Pain & Attain Physical Goals

A new study finds that rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients with high levels of belief in their ability to be physically active are more likely to achieve their physical activity goals, which in turn is linked to lower self-reported arthritis pain and increased health-related quality of life.

In the study, published online last week in the journal Arthritis Care & Research, 106 RA patients filled out initial surveys on their level of physical activity, motivation and self-efficacy for physical activity, level of arthritis pain, and quality of life. (Self-efficacy is defined as one’s confidence in one’s ability to perform a given task.) Six months later, the patients were surveyed again on how well they had achieved their baseline physical activity goal.

The results showed that 75% of respondents rated their physical activity goal achievement at 50% or more. Higher levels of self-efficacy for physical activity led to a greater likelihood of achieving physical activity goals, and achieving these goals led to less reported arthritis pain and increased quality of life.

“In practice, clinicians can foster self-efficacy and goal achievement by assisting patients in setting realistic, attainable exercise goals, developing action plans, and by providing feedback on goal progress,” the researchers write.

Sources:

Achieving realistic physical activity goals benefits RA patients [Press Release]

Self-efficacy and physical activity goal achievement predict arthritis pain and quality of life among patients with rheumatoid arthritis (abstract) [Arthritis Care & Research]