Pain and Self-Efficacy among Patients with Systemic Sclerosis: A Scleroderma Patient-Centered Intervention Network Cohort Study

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Background Pain is one of the most common symptoms affecting patients with systemic sclerosis; however, little is known about the relationship between self-efficacy and pain and changes in pain over time. Objectives The purpose of this study was to describe the relationships between self-efficacy and pain in patients with systemic sclerosis, as well as determine whether changes in self-efficacy mediate changes in pain. Methods A prospective longitudinal study was conducted using data from the Scleroderma Patient-Centered Intervention Network Cohort. The baseline sample included 1,903 adults, with a trajectory subsample of 427 who completed 3-month assessments across 3 years. Hierarchical (sequential) forward multivariable regression, covarying for participant characteristics, was conducted to determine the association between self-efficacy and patient characteristics on pain outcomes. Trajectory models, covarying for participant characteristics, were used to examine changes in self-efficacy and pain outcomes across time and whether self-efficacy mediated the pain trajectories. Results Mean time since diagnosis was 9.5 years, with 39.2% diagnosed with diffuse cutaneous systemic sclerosis. Greater self-efficacy was associated with less pain interference and intensity. Increasing age, female gender, finger ulcers, and small joint contractures were related to greater pain interference and intensity. Esophageal gastrointestinal symptoms were associated with more pain interference. Self-efficacy and pain trajectories remained stable across time, and self-efficacy did not mediate the pain trajectories. Discussion This study identified self-efficacy, age, gender, finger ulcers, small joint contractures, and esophageal gastrointestinal symptoms as important correlates associated with pain in patients with systemic sclerosis. In addition, this study found that self-efficacy and pain outcomes remained stable over time, providing important insights into the longitudinal pain experiences of patients with systemic sclerosis.

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Nursing Research