Distressed and looking for help: Internet intervention support for arthritis self-management

Kiana R. Johnson, Erika Fuchs, Keith J. Horvath, Peter Scal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Purpose Focusing on youth with juvenile arthritis (JA), this study investigates eHealth interventions as a means to develop services to improve the health of youth with chronic conditions. Internet use and preferences for Internet-based interventions were compared among youth with high and low psychosocial quality of life (PS-QL) scores. Methods Youth with JA (n = 134; high PS-QL, n = 67; low PS-QL, n = 67) completed the MyRheum online survey, which assessed physical functioning, psychosocial health, Internet usage, and amount of time spent using social networking Web sites. Youth indicated their choice, interest, and preferences in using a Web site for youth with JA. The t tests, chi-squared tests, and Fisher exact tests were used to assess significance between high and low PS-QL groups. Results Youth with lower PS-QL reported greater intrusiveness of their condition across life's activities than did youth with higher PS-QL. Low PS-QL was associated with spending more than 1 hour per day using social networking sites and having used the Internet to find information on various health and substance use topics. Youth with lower PS-QL expressed more interest in messaging others, online forums, building personal profiles, and networking with other teens than did youth with higher PS-QL. Both those with high and low PS-QL preferred online to in-person support groups. Conclusions Many youth with JA report low PS-QL and identify interest in Internet-based supportive interventions. The next generation of eHealth interventions for youth with JA, and possibly other chronic conditions, may better address their needs by recognizing the diversity of experiences and tailoring intervention strategies accordingly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)666-671
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • E-health
  • Internet interventions
  • Juvenile arthritis
  • Juvenile rheumatic condition
  • Self-management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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