Arthritis study to start in Warrnambool

28 March 2010

A research project starting at Deakin University’s Warrnambool Campus will help people suffering rheumatoid arthritis to better understand the illness.

PhD researcher and lecturer in the School of Psychology at the Warrnambool Campus, Sharon Horwood, is seeking at least 40 research participants to assist with the study.

“We are seeking people who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis who are willing to undergo a group of pencil and paper questionnaires and a simple computerised test over an hour or so,” Ms Horwood said.

The study is investigating the cognitive and behavioural aspects of rheumatoid arthritis.

“We are looking at the impact of chronic physical illness on people’s subjective wellbeing,” Ms Horwood said. “The study will look at how people perceive their illness and how they interpret their symptoms.”

Ms Horwood said a better understanding of how people cope with illnesses could help doctors implement and maintain treatment plans that account for possible mood or personality changes that occur with chronic illness.

“People can sometimes develop co-morbid depression and experience personality changes as a result of a chronic illness,” she said.

“If we find trends about why that happens it can be factored in by GPs when they are developing treatment plans.”

People interested in being involved in the study can contact Ms Horwood, who is part of the Integrative Health Research Unit within in the School of Psychology at Deakin, at or on 03 5563 3294.

Being involved in the research project would help participants learn more about how they are functioning with their illness, Ms Horwood added.

The research project has also involved collecting data from people suffering chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. “We are looking at the similarities between and within different groups of chronic illnesses,” Ms Horwood said.

News facts
  • Study looking at impact of rheumatoid arthritis on wellbeing
  • Better understanding of how people cope with illness could help with treatment plans

Media contact

Mandi O'Garretty
Deakin Media Relations
03 5227 2776; 0418 361 890

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14th April 2010