Introduction. Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a multifaceted autoimmune disease with a diverse clinical picture which may manifest itself in the form of non-specific general symptoms or multiorgan disorders. Its aetiopathogenesis is still unclear, which hinders both diagnosis of the disease and introduction of proper treatment. Moreover, as a chronic disease, SLE has an enormous impact on patients’ life often forcing them to change their lifestyle.
The aim of the study. The objective of the study was to define the way in which patients suffering from systemic lupus erythematosus perceive their disease and the relationship between sociodemographic variables and the acceptance of illness.
Materials and methods. The study was conducted in a group of 65 patients diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus at least 6 months before and undergoing medical treatment in the University Hospital in Kraków. The following research tools were applied in the study: Acceptance of Illness Scale (AIS), Brief Illness Perception Questionnaire (Brief IPQ) and the authors’ own questionnaire.
Results. The findings emerging from the study suggest that patients suffering from systemic lupus erythematosus perceive their level of knowledge about their disease as good. A correlation was discovered between the level of the acceptance of illness and its consequences. The patients who have a stronger subjective control over their condition are also characterised by higher acceptance of illness. However, exacerbation of the disease results in the decrease of its acceptance. There is a correlation between components of illness perception in the following areas: illness perception and the timeline and the disease character understood from the perspective of its exacerbation and its duration. No correlation was found in the study between illness perception and respondents’ gender, education or place of residence.
Conclusions. The study defined correlations between particular components of illness perception and the level of its acceptance. Further findings included correlations between sociodemographic factors, duration of the disease and its perception.