“We are sick and we are stressed”: understanding the correlates of reported emotional distress in individuals with lupus

Elissa D. Giffords, Orly Calderon


This article examines needs and concerns of individuals with lupus and the correlates of self-reported emotional distress.  A survey tested the following hypotheses: Individuals with lupus report a high level of emotional distress that is associated with (1) their perceived levels of social support, (2) the self-reported frequency with which they require assistance in their daily living and (3) the amount of time from initial symptoms to diagnosis. 1,776 individuals participated.  More than 95% of the individuals are diagnosed with systematic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Multivariate analyses confirm individuals report a significant level of stress associated with the frequency of needing assistance in daily life.  The findings do not support a strong relationship between perceived social support and reported stress. Similarly, there was no strong association between reported stress and the length of time lapsed from initial symptoms to diagnosis. Implications for mental health practice are also discussed.


Keywords: lupus, stress, social support, assistance in daily life, emotional distress.


lupus; stress; social support; assistance in daily life; emotional distress

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18061/dsq.v34i3.3494

Copyright (c) 2014 Elissa D. Giffords, Orly Calderon

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