Benefit-finding among patients with rheumatoid arthritis: positive effects on interpersonal relationships

J Behav Med. 2005 Feb;28(1):91-103. doi: 10.1007/s10865-005-2720-3.


This longitudinal study of patients with rheumatoid arthritis used mixed methods to identify and describe the positive effects of illness on relationships, examine correlates of benefit-finding, and test the relationship between benefit-finding and adjustment outcomes. When asked about interpersonal benefits of their illness, 71.3% of the respondents described interpersonal benefits, whereas 16.2% reported another type of benefit, and 12.5% reported no benefits. The most frequently described benefit was appreciation of support received from loved ones. Less pain, lower psychological distress, and perceiving fewer social constraints were related to finding interpersonal benefits in the illness experience. Interpersonal benefit-finding predicted lower levels of disability at a 12-month follow-up. Findings are discussed with regard to conceptual issues, methodological recommendations, and implications for interventions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / psychology*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Surveys and Questionnaires