Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an incurable auto-immune disease that affects approximately 1% of the westernpopulation. Due to lack of cure, RA treatment focuses on the alleviation of symptoms and an attempt to maintainfunctional status. Disease factors only modestly predict future disability in RA. One factor that has beendemonstrated to exert effects on levels of pain and disability among patients with RA is social support.This research proposal will advance existing knowledge on the psychosocial aspects of RA and other chronicdisease patients in two areas. First, it sets out to apply a new, much needed, theoretical framework that isattempting to explain why social interactions have a strong impact on health and well-being. Despite the numberof studies that have found a link between social support and well-being, little is known about the mechanismsthrough which support influences health. According to the proposed framework, social relationships serve ascoping resources. Second, its research methodology allow s the collection of information, which can be later usedto develop individually tailored pain treatment plans for patients with chronic pain.The present research proposal is innovative for the following reasons: (1) It responds to a severe lack ofprevious research among RA patients looking at both positive and negative consequences of social support. (2)It takes into account the quality of social support received by the patient from his/her spouse. (3) It is acomprehensive study on the psychosocial aspects of pain and disability in RA patients, as it includes an array ofmeasures of personality and the patients' beliefs about pain and their condition. (4) It investigates pain anddisability both at the short- and long-term. (5) It applies a combination of meth odologies: Interviews, Dailyprocess electronic diaries and Questionnaires. (6) Includes both patients and their spouses.The primary objective of this pro#'
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