The knowledge of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus about their disease before and after reading a patient guide was tested. The scores for incorrect answers decreased from 28 to 24% after reading the guide, showing that it increased the patients' knowledge of the disease. The patients with an academic background had the best scores before reading the guide, but they did not improve their scores as much as patients with lower educational qualifications. The differences between the groups studied were not significant in a one way analysis of variance. Forty seven questions about the psychology and coping mechanisms of the patients were factorized. These factors, together with data on the duration and severity of SLE and the age of the patient, were used in multiple linear regression analysis, but had no significant predictive value for an improvement in knowledge. The scores in psychological tests were the same before and after reading the guide. It is concluded that the patient guide for SLE increases knowledge of the disease, but does not affect the psychological response of the patient. The improvement in knowledge cannot be predicted on the basis of various psychological and clinical factors or the social background of the patient.
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