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A German version of the 'Rheumatology Attitudes Index' - the 'Rheuma- Kontroll-Skala' (RKS) - to assess perceived control in rheumatic disease is presented, and first norms are reported. Factor analyses yielded one factor with 7 items measuring the control of illness and pain in rheumatic patients (n = 74 fibromyalgia, n = 160 rheumatoid arthritis, n = 110 Bechterew's disease). The RKS is an economic, objective, and reliable scale of perceived control in rheumatic diseases according to the 'learned helplessness model'. Results in favor of construct validity are reported. Significant differences were found between patients with high compared to patients with low RKS scores concerning depression and anxiety in the expected direction. High control was combined with lower pain, more cognitive-reappraising and active coping and lower passive-resignative coping. Perceived control explained a greater proportion of variance of impairment in rheumatoid arthritis than medical illness parameters and duration of illness. Furthermore, perceived control can be modified through cognitive-behavioral therapy.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





15 - 22