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AIM - This paper is a report of a study examining the relationships among number of roles, role quality, role stress, role balance, and psychological well-being in women diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.
BACKGROUND - A substantial literature exists examining multiple roles in healthy women. However, less is known about multiple roles and well-being in women with a chronic illness such as rheumatoid arthritis.
METHODS - A questionnaire study was conducted in 2003 examining four role-related constructs (number of roles, quality of roles, role stress, and role balance) and psychological well-being in healthy women (n = 47) and women diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (n = 50). Correlation coefficients and multiple regression analyses were calculated to determine the nature of the relationships among the variables.
FINDINGS - The two groups were similar in demographics except for employment, with fewer women with rheumatoid arthritis employed. The two groups differed statistically significantly on psychological well-being. Women with rheumatoid arthritis had a lower mean psychological well-being score than healthy women. Regression analyses revealed that role stress was the only unique predictor of psychological well-being in healthy women, while role balance was the sole unique predictor among women with rheumatoid arthritis.
CONCLUSION - Women with rheumatoid arthritis experienced lower levels of well-being than their healthy counterparts. Examination of the relationships among the variables can facilitate the development of interventions to improve these women's mental health. Nurses are in a position to assess the psychosocial needs of women with rheumatoid arthritis and assist those experiencing role stress and role imbalance.