Objectives: The study aimed to determine the degree to which social capital (a combination of social resources that can be beneficial to a person's physical health and well-being), personal coping strategies, and additional personal and disease-related factors, contribute to the functioning and quality of life (QoL) of fibromyalgia (FM) patients.
Methods: In the assessment of their functioning and QoL, 175 Israeli FM patients completed the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ) and the Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36) (dependent variables). In addition, they completed a modified Social Capital Questionnaires (which tests 3 subtypes of social capital: bonding, bridging, and linking), COPE-Multidimensional Coping Inventory (measures the use of problem vs. emotional-focused coping strategies), and a personal demographic questionnaire (independent variables). A multivariate regression analysis was used to assess the relative contribution of each independent variable to functioning and QoL of these patients.
Results: The regression analysis showed that: (1) Bonding social capital and particularly the friend-connections component of bonding social capital contributed to the FIQ score and to the SF-36 parameters of social function, mental health, and bodily pain. (2) Problem-focused coping strategy contributed to the mental health parameter of the SF-36, whereas emotional-focused coping strategy contributed negatively to the FIQ score and to the mental health, general health, and bodily pain parameters of the SF-36. (3) In addition, duration of FM symptoms contributed to the SF-36 parameters of general health, social function, mental health, and bodily pain but not to the FIQ score; whereas, work status contributed significantly to the variance of FIQ.
Discussion: Bonding social capital, problem-solving coping strategies, and the duration of FM contribute positively to functioning and QoL of FM patients; whereas, emotional-focused coping strategies do the opposite. Further research to test the effects of strengthened social capital and enhanced problem-solving rather than emotion-focused coping strategies on functioning and QoL of FM patients is warranted.