Objectives: To assess knowledge of ankylosing spondylitis (AS) by patients and to identify factors associated with knowledge.
Methods: Ninety patients receiving follow-up in France for AS completed a disease knowledge auto-questionnaire yielding a correct answer score [CAS] and a correct item score [CIS]. Correlations between these scores and other factors were examined.
Results: Mean CAS was 16.4/25 (SD = 4.8) and mean CIS 7.3 +/- 3.1/14. Female gender, higher educational level, having read about AS, being aware of AS support groups, and having received longer tertiary-care hospital management were associated with better knowledge. In the multivariate analysis, only three factors were independently associated with the level of knowledge in this population: "reading about AS", "level of general education", and "awareness of an AS support group".
Conclusion: Knowledge of AS by French patients was lower than previously reported in a British population. Although education should be offered to all AS patients, the need may be greater in those with limited formal schooling. Booklets on the disease and contact with patient groups seem to be useful tools for improving knowledge of the disease.