Role of biopsychosocial variables in predicting positive well-being and health-promoting behaviors in individuals with autoimmune diseases.

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2008-05-09

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This project investigated the role of biopsychosocial variables in predicting positive well-being and health-promoting behaviors in individuals with autoimmune diseases. The predictors included disease severity, depression, arthritis self-efficacy, and social support. The dependent variables were positive well-being and health-promoting behaviors. Participants included 175 individuals with connective tissue or musculoskeletal autoimmune diseases who were over age 18. Participants were recruited through various health agencies and clinics serving people with autoimmune diseases and eligible respondents completed the survey online. Results of the study showed that disease severity and social support are not related, suggesting that an individuals' ability to access and utilize social support is unrelated to the severity of their autoimmune disease. Second, a significant relationship was found between self-efficacy and depression suggesting that individuals who believe they can handle the consequences of their disease report lower depression. Third, it was found that depression and social support predict both positive well-being and health promoting behaviors. Depression and social support added significant contributions to the regression model predicting well-being and healthy behaviors. Self-efficacy and disease severity did not add significant contributions to this model. It was found that self-efficacy does not mediate the relationship between depression and positive well-being but social support does. Fourth, a cluster analysis revealed four different clusters of participants that react to their autoimmune disease in four different ways. The cluster analysis suggested that, in general, people may react strongly favorably, strongly unfavorably, or not at all to their autoimmune disease. Finally, qualitative data for three open-ended questions related to perceived causes of disease, openness to counseling or psychotherapy, and positive consequences of autoimmune diseases were analyzed by three independent raters. Implications for research and practice are discussed.

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