Publication: Assessment of loneliness in patients with inflammatory arthritis
Aim: This study aimed to explore loneliness and associated factors in Turkish patients with inflammatory arthritis.
Method: Adult patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) (n = 58), ankylosing spondylitis (AS) (n = 53), and psoriatic arthritis (PsA) (n = 30), respectively, were included in the study. A single-item visual analog scale (VAS) for loneliness, UCLA Loneliness Scale-8 (ULS-8), Beck depression inventory (BDI), Beck anxiety inventory (BAI), revised multidimensional scale of perceived social support, Health Assessment Questionnaire-Disability Index (HAQ-DI) were used for the psychometric and functional assessments. Multiple regression models were generated for predicting the ULS-8 and HAQ-DI scores.
Results: There was no difference between disease groups in terms of the ULS-8 and HAQ-DI scores. Among demographic and clinical parameters, only the education status and number of drugs used had associations with the ULS-8 score. Single-item VAS score for loneliness did not predict the ULS-8 score well. There were significant correlations between the ULS-8 and HAQ-DI, depression, anxiety, social support, and physician global VAS scores. Only the education status significantly predicted (β = -0.208) the ULS-8 score in multiple regression analysis (adjusted R2 = 0.15, P < .001). Beck depression, anxiety, and patient global VAS scores remained significant for predicting the HAQ-DI after multiple regression with the covariates ULS-8, depression, anxiety, social support, patient and physician global VAS scores, and the number of drugs used (adjusted R2 = 0.53, P < .001). Disease activity and the ULS-8 scores were not found to be associated in any disease group.
Conclusion: Loneliness is associated with depression, anxiety, lack of social support, disability, higher number of drugs used, and lower education but not with disease activity in Turkish patients with RA, AS, and PsA. Perception and expression of loneliness vary according to the cultural background. Single-item scales for loneliness may lack reliability compared to the more comprehensive ULS-8.
Keywords: ankylosing spondylitis; inflammatory arthritis; loneliness; psoriatic arthritis; rheumatoid arthritis; social support.