For a study, researchers evaluated learned helplessness (LH) and perceived self-efficacy (SE) in patients with fibromyalgia (FM) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA), as well as to analyze their relationship with functional impairment, subjective pain level, and exhaustion. This multicenter, cross-sectional research comprised consecutive individuals (aged ≥ 18 years) with RA and FM, as defined by the 2010 American College of Rheumatology/European League Against Rheumatism criteria. The Rheumatology Attitude Index, Spanish version, was used to assess learned helplessness; the Arthritis Self-Efficacy Scale, Spanish version, was used to assess SE; the Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ), Argentine version, was used to assess depression; and the visual analog scale was used to assess perceived pain and fatigue. The Clinical Disease Activity Index (CDAI) was used to assess illness activity, while the Fibromyalgia Effect Questionnaire was used to assess disease impact (FIQ).
A total of 215 patients were involved in the study, 100 with FM and 115 with RA. For FM and RA patients, the mean age was 59 (SD, 14) years and 58 (SD, 13) years, respectively. Whereas LH and depression were considerably greater in FM patients, SE was significantly reduced. In FM and RA patients, they discovered a link between LH and HAQ, pain, depression, tiredness, FIQ, and CDAI. In both groups, they found a negative relationship between SE and HAQ, pain, sadness, tiredness, FIQ (FM), and CDAI (RA).
In RA and FM patients, LH and SE both have a substantial correlation with functional ability, reported pain, disease activity, and ill effect. Learned helplessness was higher in patients with active illness or a high disease impact than in those in remission or with a low disease impact, while the opposite was true for SE. Patients with FM showed considerably higher levels of LH, pain, exhaustion, and depression, as well as lower levels of SE, as compared to those with RA.