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Growing Old with Fibromyalgia: Resilience Predicts Physical Function

  [ 5 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ] • November 12, 2012


Growing Old With Fibromyalgia: Factors That Predict Physical Function

– Source: Nursing Research, Oct. 30, 2012

By Linda M. Torma, Gail M. Houck, et al


Background: Fibromyalgia, a persistent, widespread pain condition, significantly limits physical function, threatening an older adult's health and ability to live independently.

Objectives: The aim of the study was to identify predictors of physical function in older adults living with fibromyalgia and to examine the influence of resilience on the relationship between fibromyalgia pain and physical function.

Methods: This was a descriptive correlational, cross-sectional design using mailed questionnaires to analyze relationships between health-related variables and physical function in a convenience sample of community-dwelling older adults diagnosed with fibromyalgia (n = 224; age M = 62.1 years, SD = 6.75 years). Multiple regression was used to identify a priori predictors of physical function; hierarchical multiple regression was used to examine resilience as a moderator of pain and physical function.

Results: The sample was predominantly women, Caucasian, married, well educated, had moderate levels of income and tangible social support, and had low levels of physical function. Three-fourths were overweight or obese.

Despite impaired physical function (Late Life Function and Disability Index, M = 51.5/100, SD = 9) and moderate levels of pain (Numeric Rating Scale, M = 5.47/10, SD = 2.6), resilience was moderately high (Resilience Scale, M = 137/175, SD = 20).

[Note: Resilience is defined as the ability to bounce back in response to adversity.  According to Dr. Gail Wagnild, the creator of The Resilience Scale, "Resilient individuals have the capacity to choose a vital and authentic life. A strong resilience core gives a person the ability to structure his or her life in a resilient way."]

  • An eight-variable disablement-based model accounted for 48% of variance in physical function:

  • age, income, education, depressive symptoms, body mass index, and physical activity accounted for 31%;

  • pain added 14%;

  • and resilience contributed an additional 3%.

Resilience was not a moderator of fibromyalgia pain and physical function; resilience did contribute uniquely to physical function variance.

Discussion: Resilience, a novel variable in fibromyalgia research, was a unique predictor of physical function. Further research is needed to learn more about the relationships between resilience, fibromyalgia impact, and the aging process.

Source: Nursing Research, Oct. 30, 2012. [Epub ahead of print] By Linda M. Torma, PhD, APRN, GCNS-BC, is Assistant Professor, College of Nursing-Missoula Campus, Montana State University, Bozeman. Gail M. Houck, PhD, RN, PMHNP, is Professor, School of Nursing, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland. Gail M. Wagnild, PhD, RN, is Principal, The Resilience Center, Billings, Montana. Deborah Messecar, PhD, RN, MPH, is Associate Professor; and Kim Dupree Jones, PhD, RNC, FNP, FAAN, is Associate Professor, School of Nursing, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland.

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