South African Family Practice

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Knee osteoarthritis and perceived social support amongst patients in a family medicine clinic

Temitope Ilori, Modupe M Ladipo, Adetola M Ogunbode, Abimbola M Obimakinde


Background: Knee osteoarthritis is a chronic disease affecting the lives of patients and their families, with the family characteristics moderating the illness course. The perceived social support received by a patient helps in determining the health and functionality of the patient.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was undertaken of 270 patients with knee osteoarthritis attending a family medicine clinic between January and March 2011. The socio-economic and family characteristics of the respondents were obtained. The Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support (MPSS) was used to assess perceived social support by the respondents, while functional health was assessed using the Ibadan Knee/Hip Osteoarthritis Measure (IKHOAM).

Results: The majority (68.8%) of the respondents perceived an adequate level of social support from their family members, majorly from their children. Individuals who perceived strong support from their family (69.9%) and friends (71.6%) had a good health perception at a p-value of 0.002 and 0.037 respectively. The study also showed a statistically significant association between strong perceived family support and high functional health status (p = 0.000).

Conclusions: The health perception of patients and their physical functionality was positively associated with strong perceived family support. Families and friends can be effective sources of social support for patients with knee osteoarthritis, which help to promote their health outcomes.

Keywords: family support, functional health, health status, knee osteoarthritis, perceived social support
AJOL African Journals Online