Family-level coping in juvenile rheumatoid arthritis: Assessing the utility of a quantitative family interview

Pamela J. Degotardi, Tracey A. Revenson, Norman T. Ilowite

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Objective. To explore the viability of a quantitative family interview to describe family-level coping strategies used to deal with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA)-related stressors for early and late adolescents. Method. A structured interview protocol with 30 adolescents with JRA and family members assessed ways JRA disrupts or changes family functioning. Emotional reactions, sequential phases of family response, and treatment adherence were discussed. Interviews were coded for family-level coping. To assess adjustment, family members completed the Youth Self Report and the Family Environment Scale. The pediatric rheumatologist provided medical information. Results. The family interview produced both quantitative and qualitative data. Families reported multiple JRA-related stressors (mean 6.6). For many adolescents, treatment adherence was problematic. Families used all 3 types of coping strategies (appraisal-, problem-, and emotion- focused) to varying degrees. Problem-focused approaches were most commonly used and included seeking support (used by 73% of families), self-reliance (70%), and family coordination (70%) for dealing with specific problems, and seeking information about JRA (67%). Emotion-focused approaches, such as impulsive outbursts and diminished awareness of others' feelings, were associated with problematic adjustment. Few differences were found between the families of early and late adolescents. Conclusion. The quantitative family interview has the potential to be a useful tool in documenting JRA- related stressors, family-level coping processes, and how family-level coping is associated with treatment adherence and psychosocial adjustment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)314-324
Number of pages11
JournalArthritis Care and Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Adherence
  • Family coping
  • Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis
  • Methodology
  • Psychosocial adaptation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology


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