Objective: We tested the effectiveness of a 6-month person-centered (PC), nondirective, telephone-based counseling intervention for improving the psychological status of persons with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) or rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Methods: The design was a parallel-group, randomized, controlled study comparing a PC counseling intervention (8 SLE, 28 RA patients) with usual care (7 SLE, 30 RA patients). The Arthritis Impact Measurement Scales was used to measure psychological dysfunction, physical dysfunction, and pain at baseline and at followup.
Results: The main finding was that the PC counseling intervention significantly improved the psychological status of the SLE patients (P < 0.05, effect size = 1.13, responsiveness = 0.77) in comparison to usual care. There was no evidence of a benefit for persons with RA or of improvements in physical function or pain for persons with either disease.
Conclusions: PC counseling may be an effective intervention for improving the psychological status of persons with SLE, but may not be for those with RA.