Cognitive-behavioural approaches to self-management in rheumatic disease

Nat Rev Rheumatol. 2012 Sep;8(9):553-9. doi: 10.1038/nrrheum.2012.108. Epub 2012 Jul 17.


Patients with rheumatic disease must adjust psychosocially and behaviourally in order to manage the impact of symptoms and treatment on their daily lives, and the emotional consequences of the disease. However, patients can improve their well-being by taking a proactive role in self-management, for example by using coping strategies. Support for patient self-management from clinical teams usually comprises information and advice on disease management; however, this largely didactic approach often focuses on the biomedical aspects of rheumatic disease, without addressing how these aspects interact with psychosocial factors to influence health behaviours and thus outcomes. A cognitive-behavioural approach based on the biopsychosocial model of rheumatic disease can facilitate the identification of effective self-management strategies through collaboration between patients and clinicians. Most patients do not require intense cognitive-behavioural therapy from a clinical psychologist; rather, basic cognitive-behavioural techniques and tools could be used by rheumatology clinical teams to expand and enhance the support already offered to patients.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Behavior Therapy*
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Patient Care Team
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Patient Participation*
  • Rheumatic Diseases / psychology
  • Rheumatic Diseases / therapy*
  • Rheumatology / methods
  • Rheumatology / organization & administration
  • Self Care / psychology*