Openness to psychological explanations and treatment among people with Fibromyalgia versus Rheumatoid Arthritis – Source: Psychology and Health, Jul 26, 2011
By Naomi J Gryfe Saperia and Leora C Swartzman
Objective: The classic perspective in the psychosomatic literature is that patients with medically unexplained syndromes do not acknowledge psychologically-based causes for their conditions and will not engage in psychological treatments.
These assumptions were tested by contrasting the illness models and reported treatment experiences of individuals with fibromyalgia (FM), a syndrome with a currently unknown organic origin, with those of individuals with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a ‘legitimate’ (i.e., organic) condition.
Method: 193 patients with FM and 176 with RA completed measures assessing their views about the causes of their condition, the treatments they had used and their judged effectiveness.
Results: Contrary to prediction, compared to patients with RA, patients with FM were more likely to endorse psychological causes for their condition and reported having used more psychological management approaches.
Moreover, patients with FM considered psychological approaches to be more effective than narcotics.
These findings indicate that:
• Patients with FM do not react defensively to the implication of psychogenic causes.
• Rather, as a group, they tend to acknowledge both the psychosocial influences on and the effectiveness of psychological management approaches for their condition.
Source: Psychology and Health, Jul 26, 2011. PMID: 21787248, Gryfe Saperia NJ, Swartzman LC. Department of Psychology, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada.