Self-reported Coping Scale to Assess Resilience in Lupus Patients Is Valid Tool, Researchers Say

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by Marina Anastasiou |

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adjusting to lupus

A recent study published in the journal Health and Quality of Life Outcomes revealed that the Brief Resilient Coping Scale (BRCS) is a suitable tool to assess resilience in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).

The BRCS is a self-reported measurement test considered a reliable indicator of resilience — the ability to cope with and adapt to stress, adversity or trauma in the context of chronic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.

The test aims to capture “tenacity, optimism, creativity, aggressive approach to problem solving, and commitment to positive growth from difficult situations,” according to the study.

To date, nothing like this scale is used in clinical monitoring of SLE patients, but implementing one could help doctors provide better care by appropriately stratifying patients based on their coping skills, and identifying those who may need additional psychological support.

Researchers investigated whether the BRCS can be a valid tool in lupus patients.

To do so, researchers conducted a cross-sectional study (a type of observational study in which the exposure and the outcome are being monitored at the same time), where the BRCS was administered to 232 SLE patients. The team’s hypothesis was that resilience would be more evident among SLE patients who appear to have a greater quality of life.

The results showed that a revised version of the BRCS (the possible responses to each question were reduced from five to four) can be used as a valid tool to assess an SLE patient’s resilience.

Differences in resilience between specific variables such as age, gender and education were also analyzed. No statistically significant differences were found regarding gender or age, but the higher the educational level, the greater the patient’s resilience.

“BRCS is a suitable scale for measuring resilience in patients with SLE. This scale might be useful for clinicians to obtain information concerning the degree of resilience that each patient has, allowing individuals with low resilience to be identified who need interventions aimed at developing coping skills,” the team wrote in their report.

Additional studies are required. But this low-cost approach that aims to monitor patients’ quality of life when dealing with the daily challenges of chronic pain seems both particularly promising and long overdue.

“If interventions to build resilient coping could be refined, then perhaps quality of life could be improved in this population with a stressful chronic condition,” the researchers wrote. “The improvement of the quality of life in an incurable chronic illness is a primary objective and very important for patients. It would be advisable to consider cognitive-behavioral interventions aimed at enhancing resilient coping as a no-pharmacological treatment important for patients with SLE.”