Medication-related Self-management Behaviors among Arthritis Patients: Does Attentional Coping Style Matter?

Lorie L. Geryka, *, Susan J. Blalocka, Robert F. DeVellisb, Joanne M. Jordanc, Paul K. J. Hand, Delesha M. Carpentera
a University of North Carolina, UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, Division of Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Policy, Chapel Hill, NC, USA
b University of North Carolina, Gillings School of Global Public Health, Department of Health Behavior, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, USA
c Thurston Arthritis Research Center, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, USA
d Maine Medical Center, Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation, Portland, ME, USA

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© Geryk et al.; Licensee Bentham Open

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial 4.0 International Public License (CC BY-NC 4.0) (, which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, Division of Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Policy, University of North Carolina, 301 Pharmacy Lane, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7355, USA; Tel: 919-843-2278; Fax: 919-966-8486; E-mail:



The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between the attentional coping styles (monitoring and blunting) of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis (OA) patients and: (a) receipt of medication information; (b) receipt of conflicting medication information; (c) ambiguity aversion; (d) medication-related discussions with doctors and spouse/partners; and (e) medication adherence.


A sample of 328 adults with a self-reported diagnosis of arthritis (RA n=159; OA n=149) completed an Internet-based survey. Coping style was assessed using the validated short version of the Miller Behavioral Style Scale. Measures related to aspects of medication information receipt and discussion and validated measures of ambiguity aversion and medication adherence (Vasculitis Self-Management Survey) were collected. Pearson correlation coefficients, ANOVA, independent samples t-tests and multiple regression models were used to assess associations between coping style and the other variables of interest.


Arthritis patients in our sample were more likely to be high monitors (50%) than high blunters (36%). Among RA patients, increased information-receipt was significantly associated with decreased monitoring (b = -1.06, p = .001). Among OA patients, increased information-receipt was significantly associated with increased blunting (b = .60, p = .02).


In our sample of patients with arthritis, attentional coping style is not in accordance with the characteristic patterns outlined in the acute and chronic disease coping literature.

Keywords: Arthritis, Attentional coping style, Medication adherence, Self-management behavior, Stress-coping theory.