Date of Award

August 2013

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Phyllis M. King

Committee Members

Nancy Nelson, Sandy Ceranski

Keywords

Arthritis Foundation, Pain Reduction, Quality of Life, Self-Efficacy, Walk with Ease Program

Abstract

Objective: To evaluate the effectiveness of the Arthritis Foundation's Walk With Ease Program for individuals with self- or medically-diagnosed arthritis within a group format. The study also investigates the individuals' perceptions on self-efficacy, quality of life and pain reduction pre- and post- intervention.

Background: The prevalence of arthritis is increasing and this places a major burden on individuals, health systems and social care systems globally. Osteoarthritis, the most common arthritis condition, is a major cause of impaired mobility and disability for aging populations. Osteoarthritis affects millions of people around the world. Self-management programs like the Walk With Ease Program have proven evidence-based interventions that aim to reduce pain and disability, increase a person's sense of control and quality of life and help prolong pharmacological and surgical interventions.

Methods: Walk With Ease Program was publicized in flyers sent to local senior centers, hospitals, rehabilitation hospitals, health clinics, public health departments, and various employers within the Maricopa County Area. An observational pre-post study design was used to evaluate the effects of the Arthritis Foundation's Walk With Ease Program on perceived pain reduction, increased self-efficacy, and quality of life. Twenty eight individuals with self-reported or medically-diagnosed osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis completed the program within two separate group sessions. The baseline mean values of all variables were calculated and the differences were examined with paired t-tests. The paired sample t-tests were used to determine whether significant differences between the average values of the same measurement were made pre/post intervention.

Results: Twenty eight participants were recruited on a voluntarily basis. After 6 weeks of participation in the program, significant adjusted mean improvements were seen for nearly all self-report measures. Statistical significance was seen for self-efficacy (1.42), pain level (-1.82), physical function (9.04) and mental function (8.39).

Conclusion: Self-management programs like Walk With Ease are important to individuals with self- and medically-diagnosed arthritis. Individuals with arthritis demonstrated significant improved quality of life and self-efficacy, as well as significant decreased pain. This study strongly suggests more self-management benefit individuals with arthritis by proving positive effects on quality of life, self-efficacy and decreased level of pain. Additionally, it is a brief, low-cost, and easy-to-do community-based walking program.