Session Title: Psychological Aspects of Rheumatologic Disease
Session Type: Abstract Submissions (ARHP)
Background/Purpose: Inflammatory arthritis (IA) may limit participation in life roles such as parenting. Surprisingly little research has investigated the impact of IA on parenting tasks and experiences of fathers. This descriptive pilot study adapted a mail survey used in a cross-sectional study of mothers to an online format to (a) examine feasibility of the tool and items for use with men, and (b) assess self-reported performance of parenting tasks, parenting satisfaction, and parenting efficacy in fathers with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), psoriatic arthritis (PsA), or ankylosing spondylitis (AS).
Methods: Men with IA were recruited through rheumatologists’ offices, arthritis consumer newsletters and web sites, and public education forums on arthritis. Eligibility criteria included a diagnosis of IA confirmed by a rheumatologist and at least one child ≤18 yrs living with them. Volunteers were sent a web link and password to access the survey. The Parenting Disability Index (PDI) and Parenting Sense of Competency Scale (PSOC) were used to measure parenting outcomes. Surveys also inquired about employment, household work, social support, family quality of life, health status, demographics, and survey feasibility questions. Descriptive statistics were used to assess numeric responses and thematic content analysis used to examine text responses.
Results: Twelve men volunteered and 10 submitted complete surveys, and reported taking 15 to 60 minutes to do so. They ranged in age from 38 to 59 years, and had 1 to 5 children ranging in age from 4 months to late 20s. Eight were married, 2 were separated/divorced. Four had RA, 4 had AS, and 2 had PsA, from 1 to 32 years in duration (mean = 17.5). Seven were employed. Health Assessment Questionnaire II scores ranged from 0 to 1.5 (mean = .53, median = .40); the common functional limitation was lifting and moving heavy objects. They reported few limitations in parenting tasks, with PDI scores ranging from .20 to 1.26 (0 to 3 scale), mostly related to having energy to be patient with their child, getting up during the night or early morning, and playing (on the floor or outdoors). PSOC total scores ranged from 2.0 to 2.82 (0 to 6 scale; mean = 2.28, SD = .29), while parenting sense of efficacy subscale ranged from 1.67 to 3.56 (mean = 2.32, SD = .60) and parenting satisfaction subscale ranged from 1.50 to 2.75 (mean = 2.22, SD = .38). Men reported many joys in parenting (“to love and to hold” their children), and several challenges (“communicating the fact I’m in pain in a way that doesn’t make my 7 year old worried or overly protective; I also don’t want to downplay it”). A key motivator for participating in the survey was “most seminars and clinics are directed at or attended by women, so a men’s questionnaire is a must!”
Conclusion: The online parenting survey was relevant to the participating men. Although this sample is too small to generalize, findings suggest men with IA experience specific limitations in parenting, but experience great satisfaction with this role. Assessment of parenting task performance may be important to assess in both practice and research settings when selecting outcomes that are meaningful to people living with arthritis.
C. L. Backman,
« Back to 2012 ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting
ACR Meeting Abstracts - https://acrabstracts.org/abstract/to-love-and-to-hold-men-describe-parenting-in-the-presence-of-inflammatory-arthritis/