The association between fatigue and self-esteem in patients with rheumatoid arthritis

  • A. Husivargova
  • Z. Macejova
  • J. Benka
  • I. Nagyova


Background Fatigue is one of the most prevalent and yet neglected symptoms in Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). Little attention has been paid to the multidimensional nature of fatigue and its wide-ranging consequences for functional status and quality of life. RA-related fatigue appears to be strongly associated with psychosocial factors. Therefore, the aim of this study was to assess the associations between fatigue, functional status, and self-esteem in RA patients. Methods The sample consisted of 297 RA patients (80.8% female; mean age 56.03 ± 11.57 years). All patients completed the Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ), the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSE) and the Visual Analogue Scale - Fatigue (VAS). Multiple linear regressions were used for statistical analyses. Findings Sociodemographic (age, gender, education) and clinical variables (C-reactive protein, ESR, disease duration) explained 5% of total variance in fatigue. When HAQ (functional status) was added a 10% boost was achieved. Self-esteem explained additional 7% of the total variance in fatigue. Discussion Lower self-esteem was found to be significantly associated with fatigue in RA patients. This result suggests that fatigue may interfere with the way in which RA patients see and value themselves. Caregivers and physicians can encourage patients to use various strategies to enhance self-esteem in order to mitigate the negative effects of fatigue on health and quality of life in RA patients. [Grant support: APVV-15-0719]
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