Disease Activity, Occupational Participation, and Quality of Life for Individuals with and without Severe Fatigue in Ankylosing Spondylitis
Occupational Therapy International
Background. Fatigue is one of the most frequently reported symptoms by individuals with ankylosing spondylitis. However, it is often overlooked clinically and in research. Literature researching the impact of severe fatigue on occupational participation in ankylosing spondylitis is limited. Therefore, the aim of this research was to explore the impact of severe fatigue on occupational participation, disease activity, and quality of life in people with AS. Methods. A sequential exploratory mixed
... l exploratory mixed method study design was used in this study. Self-reported questionnaires gathered quantitative data which were analysed with descriptive and inferential statistics. Qualitative data were generated through semistructured interviews and analysed using a content analysis approach. Results. Fifty individuals with AS completed all study questionnaires. Participants had a mean age of 46.5 years; 72% were men with a mean disease duration of 14.5 years. High fatigue was reported by 38% of participants using the Multidimensional Assessment of Fatigue (MAF). Fatigue was significantly associated with lower occupational participation (p=0.018), higher disease activity (p<0.001), higher pain (p<0.001), reduced physical capacity (p=0.018), lower quality of life (p<0.001), and lower global well-being (p<0.001). There were significant differences between those with low and high fatigue levels for occupational participation (p=0.007), disease activity (p<0.001), physical capacity (p=0.015), pain (p<0.001), and quality of life (p<0.001). Participants discussed the impact of fatigue on productivity and leisure. They also discussed a range of strategies for managing their fatigue but reported a lack of education from health professionals on managing this symptom. Conclusion. Severe fatigue is a prevalent symptom for individuals with ankylosing spondylitis and results in reduced occupational participation in productivity and leisure. Early fatigue management interventions may reduce the occupational participation impact of this symptom for individuals with ankylosing spondylitis.