This study is an examination of the relationship between disease severity, social role strain, and psychological well-being among a group of women suffering from the chronic disease Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE). In an attempt to explore the question of why chronic disease has a powerful negative impact on some people, causing them to become depressed or anxious, while leaving others relatively unaffected psychologically, we predicted that psychological distress would result in SLE patients when their illness affected their ability to perform valued social roles. Results confiied this mediator hypothesis, suggesting, in fact, that disease severity has little psychological effect apart from the distress engendered by role strain. This findig indicates the importance of safeguarding patients’ social roles in the psychosocial management of the illness.
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