Men with rheumatic diseases: experiences, coping styles & support preferences. Dr Caroline Flurey.

Men with rheumatic diseases: experiences, coping styles & support preferences. Dr Caroline Flurey.

“I’ve handed back my man card”: Experiences, coping styles, and support preferences of men with rheumatic diseases, by Dr Caroline Flurey, Senior Lecturer in Public Health, University of the West of England.
Background: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and Systemic Sclerosis (SSc) are inflammatory autoimmune rheumatic diseases. RA is characterized by joint inflammation, pain and fatigue. SSc is characterised by functional and structural abnormalities of small blood vessels, and thickening of the skin, which can progress to internal organs. Research in other conditions suggests men need their own health strategy, yet research in these rheumatic diseases reflect the preponderance of women with these conditions. This presentation will address what we currently know about the experiences, coping styles and support preferences of men with RA & SSc.
Methods: Qualitative focus groups and interviews with 22 men with RA informed a
Q-methodology study with 30 different men with RA to identify priorities. This informed a Q-survey: 281 men with RA (mean age: 66) completed numerical rating scales (NRS) of statements taken from our previous Q-methodology study, and were assigned to a group based on a weighted averaging of scores. Participants completed measures of disease severity, coping; psychological impact and support.
Focus groups with men with SSc are in progress.
Results: For RA, 120 men (43%) reported severe disease, used less effective coping strategies, and reported poor psychological outcomes. Most popular support options were a question and answer session with their Rheumatologist (54%) or specialist nurse (50%), organized research talks (55%) or education on managing physical symptoms (53%).
For SSc, 3/8 focus groups are complete (n=13) and emerging preliminary analysis will be presented.
Conclusions: Some men seem able to accept and adapt to RA, but others (at least 43%) seem in need of self-management support. Men prefer support with a practical rather than emotional focus. The next step is to design and test a tailored self-management intervention for men with rheumatic diseases.

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