Despite the wide availability of disease-related leaflets, their impact on patients' wellbeing has rarely been evaluated. The purpose of this randomized, controlled study was to examine the effectiveness of leaflets amongst patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in terms of change in knowledge, self-efficacy and psychological well-being. Patients were recruited and randomized to the intervention (N = 53), or control condition (N = 55), as they attended out-patient clinics. Data were collected by self-administered questionnaires at two points in time, 3 weeks apart. Following baseline assessment, the intervention group received a leaflet and were interviewed at the end of the study. After 3 weeks, the intervention group demonstrated an increase in knowledge (F = 21.24, p< 0.0001), a decrease in pain (F = 6.45, p = 0.013), and a decrease in depression (F = 3.64, p = 0.059). No changes were evident among the control group. Analysis of interview data revealed that patients found the leaflet reassuring and felt it helped them ‘come to terms’ with their condition. Leaflets have a valuable role to play in patient education, and can be effective in promoting short-term increases in knowledge and improved psychological wett-being amongst people with RA.
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‘This is an electronic version of an article published in Psychology, Health and Medicine 2(3), 221-235. Psychology, Health and Medicine is available online at:
- patient education