University of Twente Student Theses


Fatigue and quality of life in rheumatism: Sex and SES differences

Beckmann, Mira (2011) Fatigue and quality of life in rheumatism: Sex and SES differences.

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Abstract:Fatigue plays an important role in rheumatic diseases as it is a commonly experienced symptom. Because of the great prevalence and importance of fatigue the aim of this study was to gain insight into the relationship of this outstanding symptom and the patients’ quality of life. Furthermore the study’s aim was to test sex and SES related differences in fatigue and in its impact on quality of life. Previous findings concerning sex and SES related differences in fatigue are often conflicting. The present study assumed that women and patients with a low SES suffer from more fatigue and have a lower quality of life than men and patients with a high SES. To examine the relation of fatigue and quality of life and to test possible sex and SES differences in fatigue and its impact on quality of life an existing dataset was used. It consisted of data from 207 outpatients of Medical Spectrum Twente, The Netherlands, affected by various forms of rheumatic diseases. The patients filled out the SF-36v2 Health Survey to evaluate their quality of life. The present study made use of five of the eight dimensions of the SF-36v2. Furthermore, the patients indicated their actual pain level by means of a numerical rating scale and stated their current fatigue by means of three visual analogue scales that measure the severity of fatigue, its effect and coping with fatigue. The results revealed that there were significant sex differences in the severity of fatigue with women rating their fatigue as more severe than men. Furthermore, there was also significant sex difference in pain with women reaching a higher mean score than men. An analysis of covariance showed that the effect of sex on pain outweighed the effect of sex on fatigue so that sex was not significantly related to the severity of fatigue as pain was controlled. On top of this the results revealed significant SES differences in coping with fatigue with patients with low SES coping worse with fatigue than patients with high SES. Moreover the results identified sex and SES differences in some dimensions of quality of life. It was further shown that fatigue, pain and physical functioning were related to all aspects of quality of life that were measured. Because fatigue was shown to be an outstanding symptom among several forms of rheumatism more information about causes and treatment of fatigue is needed so that patients get supported in using self-management strategies. It may be that women and patients with low SES benefit more from special treatment than men and patients with high SES.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
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