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vol. 49
Original paper

Coping style as a moderator of the relation between anxiety and neuroticism in rheumatoid arthritis patients

Michał Ziarko
Łukasz Kaczmarek
Ewa Mojs
Magdalena Atarowska
Włodzimierz Samborski

Reumatologia 2011; 49, 3: 162–168
Online publish date: 2011/06/06
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Anxiety remains one of the consequences of chronic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. High anxiety levels not only decrease the patient’s QoL, but also trigger anti-health behaviours and may adversely influence the course of the disease. The connection between neuroticism and anxiety has been well-documented so far. Neuroticism remains a temperamental trait so it is hardly modifiable. Reduction of psychological costs connected with high neuroticism entails the need to learn factors, which may limit the impact of neuroticism on anxiety levels (factors moderating the relation between anxiety and neuroticism). The aim of the study was to determine moderator variables of the relation between anxiety and neuroticism. The study involved 100 participants (78 women and 22 men), all of whom were RA patients. They were given a set of questionnaires to evaluate their anxiety levels, coping styles and personality dimensions. Pearson – r correlation analysis and moderator analysis of the relation between neuroticism and anxiety as a state mediated by coping styles were performed. The interaction testing was performed by way of the least-squares analysis and logistic regression. A directly proportional correlation was found between neuroticism and anxiety as a state (r = 0.63; p < 0.01) (Table I). This correlation was not observed in highly neurotic subjects using avoidant coping style (R2 = 0.19; F = 7.00; p < 0.001) (Fig. 1) and in avoidant social coping style subjects (R2 = 0.22; F = 8.70; p < 0.001) (Fig. 2, Table II). The results show that strong neuroticism increases probability of the patient’s anxiety reaction to symptoms and risks which are consequences of the disease. The observed correlation proves the hypothesis that temperament is a risk factor in behavioural disorders. They also suggest that neurotic RA patients should be persuaded to distance themselves from the illness and encouraged to activate their social life.

rheumatoid arthritis, anxiety, stress

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