Understanding social role participation: what matters to people with arthritis? Academic Article uri icon

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  • OBJECTIVE: To assess the importance of different social roles in the lives of people with osteoarthritis (OA), and satisfaction with time spent in roles and role performance, as well as the relationship of demographic, health, and psychological factors to role perceptions. METHODS: Sixty women and 27 men (age 42-86 yrs) with hip or knee OA were recruited from rehabilitation programs and community advertising. Participants completed interview-administered questionnaires measuring demographics, OA symptoms, activity limitations, and well-being (e.g., depression). They also completed the Social Role Participation Questionnaire (SRPQ) assessing the influence of arthritis on role salience and satisfaction across diverse role domains (e.g., close relationships, employment). RESULTS: Participants reported many salient roles, but low to moderate satisfaction with them related to OA. SRPQ dimensions of salience and satisfaction were distinct; satisfaction with time spent in roles and with role performance was highly correlated (r = 0.83). Lower role salience was associated with being older, having less education and income, and greater illness intrusiveness. Less satisfaction with time spent in roles due to OA was associated with being younger, greater pain, and greater illness intrusiveness, whereas less satisfaction with role performance was associated with greater illness intrusiveness and depression. CONCLUSION: This study addresses a gap -- the influence of OA on social role participation. It underscores the importance of taking into account individual perceptions of roles, and that these perceptions are multifaceted. Understanding diverse factors related to social roles may help identify individuals at risk for role difficulties and provide targets for interventions to improve role participation.


  • Gignac, Monique AM
  • Backman, Catherine L
  • Davis, Aileen M
  • Lacaille, Diane
  • Mattison, Cristina
  • Montie, Pamela
  • Badley, Elizabeth M

publication date

  • August 2008

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