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03-09-2019 | Uitgave 12/2019 Open Access

Quality of Life Research 12/2019

Factors associated with quality of life in systemic sclerosis: a cross-sectional study

Quality of Life Research > Uitgave 12/2019
Matylda Sierakowska, Halina Doroszkiewicz, Justyna Sierakowska, Marzena Olesińska, Agnieszka Grabowska-Jodkowska, Marek Brzosko, Piotr Leszczyński, Katarzyna Pawlak-Buś, Bogdan Batko, Piotr Wiland, Maria Majdan, Małgorzata Bykowska-Sochacka, Wojciech Romanowski, Aleksandra Zon-Giebel, Sławomir Jeka, Mwidimi Ndosi
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The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s11136-019-02284-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is a connective tissue disease characterized by progressive fibrosis of the skin and internal organs, leading to their failure and disturbances in the morphology and function of blood vessels. The disease affects people in different ways, and identifying how the difficulties and limitations are related to quality of life may contribute to designing helpful interventions. The aim of this study was to identify factors associated with quality of life in people with SSc.


This was a cross-sectional study conducted in 11 rheumatic centres in Poland. Patients diagnosed with SSc were included. Quality of life was measured using the SSc Quality of Life Questionnaire (SScQoL). The following candidate factors were entered in preliminary multivariable analysis: age, place of residence, marital status, occupational status, disease type, disease duration, pain, fatigue, intestinal problems, breathing problems, Raynaud’s symptoms, finger ulcerations, disease severity, functional disability, anxiety and depression. Factors that achieved statistical significance at the 10% level were then entered into a final multivariable model. Factors achieving statistical significance at the 5% level in the final model were considered to be associated with quality of life in SSc.


In total, 231 participants were included. Mean age (SD) was 55.82 (12.55) years, disease duration 8.39 (8.18) years and 198 (85.7%) were women. Factors associated with quality of life in SSc were functional disability (β = 2.854, p < 0.001) and anxiety (β = 0.404, p < 0.001). This model with two factors (functional disability and anxiety) explained 56.7% of the variance in patients with diffuse SSc and 73.2% in those with localized SSc.


Functional disability and anxiety are significantly associated with quality of life in SSc. Interventions aimed at improving either of these factors may contribute towards improving the quality of life of people with SSc.

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