Purpose: Scleroderma (SSc) is rare, and few studies have examined self-efficacy in persons with the disease. Self-efficacy is one precursor that has been shown to initiate changes in behaviour when managing chronic disease. The objective of this study was to explore the levels of self-efficacy in persons with SSc, compare self-efficacy in persons with limited or diffuse SSc and determine correlations between self-efficacy, physical function and psychological variables.
Methods: Sixty-two participants with SSc completed measures assessing self-efficacy, depression, fatigue, pain, hand function and activity limitations. The mean age of participants was 52.9 years. The mean educational level was 15.8 years. Sixty-seven per cent were married and 87.1% were women. Thirty participants had diffuse SSc, 27 had limited SSc and five were unclassified.
Results: The only significant differences between the two disease subtypes were in hand function and self-efficacy function subscale scores. Total self-efficacy scores significantly correlated with marital status, employment, self-reported health, depression, functional ability, fatigue, pain and hand function. Similarly, self-efficacy function scale scores correlated significantly with employment, self-reported health, functional ability, pain and hand function. Self-efficacy pain scale scores correlated significantly with fatigability. The self-efficacy other scale scores correlated significantly with depression and fatigability. Participants with higher levels of pain and depression, more fatigue, more general disability and more hand disability had lower self-efficacy.
Conclusion: Self-efficacy correlates with physical function and psychological variables, and could predict how patients manage their health. Self-efficacy may increase through participation in educational programmes focusing on self-management of these variables.
Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.