Objective: To examine the role of demographic, disability, appraisal, and coping variables in predicting psychological adjustment in individuals with systemic sclerosis.
Methods: Two hundred forty-two individuals with systemic sclerosis (SSc; diffuse and limited) were surveyed by mail. Demographics, functional disability, pain, control appraisals, 8 types of coping, and individual psychosocial adjustment were assessed by self-report questionnaires with established reliability and validity.
Results: In regression analysis, 3 coping strategies emerged as significant predictors of adjustment: Wishful Thinking, Blaming Self, and Problem-Focused Coping. Self-reports of disability and control appraisals were also significant predictors. Collectively, 46% of the variance in adjustment was explained by these 5 predictor variables. The strongest predictor of overall adjustment was wishful thinking, explaining 22% of the variance in adjustment.
Conclusions: Potentially modifiable appraisal and coping variables, along with disease-related disability, appear to play an important role in predicting adjustment to SSc, while demographic variables explained little of the variability in patient adjustment.