Many Men with RA Not Served by Current Interventions

Often conflict with personal coping strategies

Judy George,09.29.2017 of MedPage

Edited Action Points

Many men with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are not being served by current self-management interventions because of their personal coping strategies, British researchers said.

While some men adapt to life with RA, at least 43% appear to cope less effectively and experience poorer psychological status, according to Caroline Flurey, PhD, of the University of the West of England and colleagues. These men are more likely to use avoidance and resignation strategies and are less accepting of their RA.

Overall, men prefer a one-to-one session with a consultant (82%) or specialist nurse (79%), an informative web site (69%), or an organized talk with research experts (55%) for support, Flurey and colleagues reported online in the journal Arthritis Care & Research.

"A significant proportion of male RA patients are in need of an appropriately targeted support or self-management intervention from their rheumatology team," they wrote. "Men's preferences for support take the practical form, with a focus on expanding their knowledge about their condition and how to manage it."

To date, very little research has focused solely on men and there's no consensus about whether gender affects the way people cope with RA, the authors noted.

In total, 280 men and 103 women completed the questionnaires.

The most popular form of support among all males, regardless of which group they belonged to, was a one-to-one session with their rheumatologist, specialist nurse, or physiotherapist. Men were least interested in sessions with other patients, either one-to-one (27%) or question-and-answer (22%). Women, however, showed significantly more interest in interacting with other patients (49% and 45%, respectively). Women showed a greater acceptance than men of all support options presented in the survey.

Both men and women said they would be more likely to attend a self-management intervention if they received an appointment letter or personal recommendation from their rheumatologist or specialist nurse. "This supports the view that self-management should be seen as integral to treatment, rather than a 'nice optional extra'," the authors wrote.

This research was supported by Arthritis Research UK.