Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a form of arthritis characterised by an early onset and an active style of treatment involving regular exercise. Self-help groups for AS patients have developed in many countries as a means of promoting exercise treatment. The empirical section presents a comparative study of members and non-members of such groups along psychosocial dimensions including health locus of control, social support, and health behaviour. Self-help group members were distinguished by a combination of factors including a low reliance on powerful others health locus of control beliefs, greater satisfaction with available support, and increased frequency of exercise. A subsample showed improvements on physiological measurements over a 6-month period. The utility of including psychosocial variables in examination of rheumatic diseases is discussed and practical implications of these findings for health care professionals and future research are considered.
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- locus of control
- treatment adherence