Fatigue predicts future reduced social participation, not reduced physical function or quality of life in people with systemic sclerosis

Susan L. Murphy ScD* (Corresponding Author), Daniel Whibley, Anna L. Kratz, Janet L Poole, Dinesh Khanna

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
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Although fatigue is one of the most problematic symptoms for people with systemic sclerosis, little is known about how fatigue impacts daily life over time. Such information is important when developing fatigue management interventions. This study was conducted to examine (1) if fatigue severity predicted outcomes of worse functioning (social participation, physical function), and quality of life and (2) if level of self-efficacy moderated significant relationships between fatigue and these outcomes.

Data were utilized from a clinical trial in which an online self-management intervention was tested (N = 267). Fatigue, social participation, and physical function were assessed by PROMIS measures. Quality of life was assessed by the EuroQol 5-domain instrument. Linear regressions were performed to examine how baseline fatigue related to functioning and quality of life outcomes 16 weeks later controlling for relevant covariates. PROMIS measures were used to measure self-efficacy in managing symptoms, daily activities, medications and treatments, emotions, and social interactions.

Fatigue at baseline significantly predicted social participation 16 weeks later, but did not predict physical functioning or quality of life. Self-efficacy variables did not moderate the association between fatigue and social participation.

Fatigue severity predicted decreased social participation in people with systemic sclerosis. Interventions targeting fatigue should include support to maintain participation of social roles and activities. The level of reported self-efficacy did not vary the strength of the association between fatigue and decline in social participation indicating that there may be other targets to treat fatigue intervention beyond self-management.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-193
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Scleroderma and Related Disorders
Issue number2
Early online date18 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This work was supported by a grant from the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI; Poole/Khanna co-PIs) (Award CER-1310-08323 to J.L.P. and D.K.). The statements presented in this publication are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of PCORI. Dr. Khanna’s work was supported by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases at National Institutes of Health (K24-AR-063129)


  • Fatigue
  • Self-efficacy
  • systemic sclerosis
  • Self-management
  • self-efficacy
  • self-management


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