Background: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic, long-term, and non-life-threatening disease. Individuals with RA face various daily pressures that include physical symptoms as well as feelings of helplessness, dependency, threats to self-respect, interference with social activities, disruptions of family ties, and difficulties in continuing to work. Quality of life reflects a patient's spiritual well-being and can be used as an important indicator of adaptation to RA.
Purpose: The aim of this study was to describe the status of spiritual well-being in RA patients.
Methods: This study used meta-synthesis with Sandelowski and Barroso's qualitative meta-summary technique. A comprehensive search of Academic Search Complete, CINAHL, MEDLINE, PsycARTICA LES, and SocINDEX using relevant keywords identified primary research studies that have previously explored spiritual well-being in patients with RA. Each study was systematically evaluated on the basis of the following inclusion criteria: (a) clear descriptions of research purposes and qualitative research, sampling strategies and techniques used; (b) statement of sample size and sample variables; (c) description of data analysis methods used; and (d) quality of research finding presentation.
Results: A total of 675 articles, published between 1995 and 2009, were found. Ten met the inclusion criteria. The results revealed four consistent themes related to RA patients' spiritual well-being, namely, living with the disease, reclaiming control, reframing the situation, and bolstering courage.
Conclusions/Implications for Practice: Multifaceted resources should be used to give patients spiritual support. These resources should include establishing cognition-based education programs that provide information about the disease and programs that offer strong support for patient groups. Curricula should address how to plan family education courses. Spiritual well-being as presented in this study should be integrated into quality-of-life evaluations of RA patients and provide an evaluation tool able to assess the effectiveness of various interventions.