Effect of ankylosing spondylitis on health-related quality of life and different aspects of social life in young patients

Clin Rheumatol. 2006 Mar;25(2):168-74. doi: 10.1007/s10067-005-1150-5. Epub 2005 Aug 10.


The aim of this study was to determine the emotional and sociodemographic characteristics of patients with ankylosing spondylitis (AS) and to investigate the impact of the disease on their social life and quality of life (QOL). This study included 101 patients with the diagnosis of AS. All patients filled in a questionnaire comprising their sociodemographic and emotional status and their self-rating on the disease and completed the 36-item Short Form Health Survey (SF-36). The impact of the disease on work status, sexuality, and family relations was measured on a Likert scale. The impact of the disease on employment, family and sexual relations, work life as well as SF-36 was investigated. Therefore, the effect of educational level, employment, social security, and sexual relations with spouse, etc. on QOL were assessed. More than half of the patients had no knowledge about the disease and half of them were not under a physician's control. Thirty-two percent of the previously working patients quit their jobs because of the disease. Quitting a job due to the disease was more frequent in the first 10 years of the disease. The most affected domains of the SF-36 were physical role power, general health, and pain. Patients unemployed due to the disease had lower SF-36 scores compared with employed ones. Unemployed patients without social insurance had lower values on SF-36 subscales (p<0.05). A higher education level had positive influences on disease impact. The level of anxiety was high and was associated with sexual relations (p<0.05). Our results show that the disease affects patients' work and social life. Work disability affects QOL. Educating the patients about the disease may play an important role in improving his/her life quality and coping with the disease. Thus, the socioeconomic burden of the disease on the person and on society can be diminished.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety
  • Educational Status
  • Emotions
  • Employment
  • Family Relations
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Male
  • Quality of Life*
  • Sexuality
  • Spondylitis, Ankylosing / physiopathology
  • Spondylitis, Ankylosing / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Work