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SP0031 Are illness perception and coping style associated with patient delay?
  1. K. Van der Elst1,2
  1. 1Rheumatology, University Hospitals Leuven
  2. 2Skeletal Biology and Engineering Research Centre, KU Leuven Department of Development and Regeneration, Leuven, Belgium


EULAR recommendations for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) management advocate early intensive treatment to target. Timely diagnosis and treatment initiation in RA depends on a multitude of factors, such as healthcare organisation and referral pathways. Nevertheless, individuals seem to have a large contribution themselves by delaying their first contact with a health professional after symptom onset. This pre-diagnosis period can be described as a daunting period for persons who are later diagnosed with RA, because of experiencing symptoms they do not fully understand yet. It has been shown that when confronted with particular new symptoms, persons develop or adjust certain beliefs and attitudes that determine their understanding of, and their way of dealing with these unknown symptoms. Consequently, how persons interpret (perception) and manage (coping) their initial RA-related symptoms could influence their help-seeking behaviour. The results presented in this lecture will introduce the role of illness perception and coping in the patient delay in recently diagnosed patients with early RA. The audience will learn about the role of psychosocial aspects in patients’ help-seeking behaviour, and why such aspects are worthwhile to consider when aiming for a reduction in early RA treatment delay.

Reference [1] Van der Elst K, et al. Are illness perception and coping style associated with the delay between symptom onset and the first general practitioner consultation in early rheumatoid arthritis management? An exploratory study within the CareRA trial. Scand J Rheumatol2016;45(3):171–8.

Disclosure of Interest None declared

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