Ann Rheum Dis 64:1618-1623 doi:10.1136/ard.2004.029926
  • Extended report

Improvement of coping abilities in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus: a prospective study

  1. M Haupt2,*,
  2. S Millen1,*,
  3. M Jänner2,
  4. D Falagan1,
  5. R Fischer-Betz1,
  6. M Schneider1
  1. 1Department of Rheumatology, Heinrich-Heine-University, Düsseldorf, Germany
  2. 2Outpatient Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Heinrich-Heine-University
  1. Correspondence to:
    Prof Dr Matthias Schneider
    Centre of Rheumatology, Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf, Moorenstr 5, 40225 Düsseldorf, Germany;
  • Accepted 3 April 2005
  • Published Online First 13 April 2005


Objective: To evaluate a novel specific psychological intervention aimed at improving coping in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).

Methods: 34 community living SLE patients were recruited for the study. Intervention was undertaken in groups of up to eight patients and in two blocks over six months each. Eight patients were enrolled as a waiting list group. The 18 group sessions focused on information about the disease and specific problems of SLE patients, combining psychoeducative and psychotherapeutic elements. Psychological and medical evaluations were conducted at baseline and after three, six, and 12 months, using validated instruments.

Results: The 34 SLE patients (91% female, mean age 42 years) improved significantly over a six month period on most of the psychological measuring instruments applied, such as depression, anxiety, and overall mental burden. The waiting list group showed no significant changes.

Conclusions: Conceptualised psychoeducational support may produce a significant and sustained improvement in coping skills of SLE patients and hence in their quality of life.


  • Published Online First 13 April 2005

  • * The first two authors contributed equally to this paper