Purpose: We examined whether or not there are systematic differences in how people appraise different types of illness-related problems and in how they cope with these problems.
Methods: Two hundred thirty-five adults with recently diagnosed rheumatoid arthritis completed a mailed questionnaire followed by a telephone interview. A series of stress appraisal and coping variables were assessed in relation to three areas: household activities, leisure activities, and pain management.
Results: Pain differed significantly from household and leisure activities with regard to several appraisal and coping variables. Participants reported the least control over problems with pain, while attaching the most importance to pain control. Leisure activities also stood out as unique on several variables. Participants perceived greater ability and were more satisfied with their ability in relation to leisure activities.
Conclusion: These findings show that, at least early in the disease, appraisal and coping strategies differ across the areas of household activities, leisure activities, and pain management.