Early RA in Women May Have Big Effect on Daily Activities and Occupational Identity

Mar 28, 2012

Daily activities and occupational identity may be affected profoundly in the first 12 months after a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), resulting in significant life changes.

Daily activities and occupational identity may be affected profoundly in the first 12 months after a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), resulting in significant life changes. Physicians should be able to distinguish between the moderate fluctuations of symptoms and associated dramatic dysfunction so that appropriate support may be provided.

McDonald and coworkers used phenomenographic analysis to explore the affect of early RA in 37 women and describe the various ways patients relate to particular phenomena. Analysis began with a complete set of transcripts; categories were based on analysis of the data set as a whole.

Participants recounted a range of experiences characterized by changes in the way they engaged in occupations in the following 4 categories: (1) uncertainties associated with daily fluctuations in symptoms and activity participation, (2) activity disruptions, (3) doing things differently to maintain participation in meaningful activities and altered social relationships, and (4) changing views of self. Although each category was distinct, the data showed that the categories are closely related and influence one another.

The authors noted that the current research highlights a need for a holistic approach to caring for patients with RA from the earliest stages of disease.

x