Factors related to self-efficacy in persons with scleroderma

Musculoskeletal Care. 2010 Dec;8(4):197-203. doi: 10.1002/msc.181.


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.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Fatigue / etiology
  • Fatigue / physiopathology
  • Fatigue / psychology
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / etiology
  • Pain / physiopathology
  • Pain / psychology
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Scleroderma, Diffuse / complications
  • Scleroderma, Diffuse / physiopathology
  • Scleroderma, Diffuse / psychology*
  • Scleroderma, Limited / complications
  • Scleroderma, Limited / physiopathology
  • Scleroderma, Limited / psychology*
  • Self Efficacy*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires