Fatigue in patients with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis: Relationship to perceived health, physical health, self-efficacy, and participation

Wineke Armbrust*, Otto H T M Lelieveld, Jolanda Tuinstra, Nico M. Wulffraat, G. J F Joyce Bos, Jeannette Cappon, Marion A J van Rossum, Pieter J J Sauer, Mariët Hagedoorn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Fatigue is common in patients with JIA and affects daily life negatively. We assessed the presence and severity of fatigue in patients with JIA, including factors presumed associated with fatigue (e.g., disease activity, disability, pain, physical activity, exercise capacity, and self-efficacy), and whether fatigue is related to participation in physical education classes, school attendance, and sports frequency. Methods: The current study used baseline data of 80 patients with JIA (age 8-13) who participated in an intervention aimed at promoting physical activity. Primary outcome measurements were fatigue, assessed using the Pediatric-Quality-of-Life-Inventory (PedsQl)-Fatigue-scale and energy level assessed using a VAS scale. Other outcome measurements were disease activity (VAS Physician Global Assessment Scale), disability (Childhood Health Assessment Questionnaire), physical activity (accelerometer), exercise capacity (Bruce treadmill test), self-efficacy (Childhood Arthritis Self-Efficacy Scale), and participation (self-report). Results: Sixty percent of patients with JIA suffered from daily low-energy levels; 27% suffered from very low-energy levels more than half the week. Low energy levels were best predicted by disability and low physical activity. Fatigue measured with the PEDsQL was higher compared to the control-population. Disability and low self-efficacy were main predictors of fatigue. Self-efficacy was a predictor of fatigue but did not act as moderator. Fatigue was a predictor for sports frequency but not for school attendance. Conclusion: Fatigue is a significant problem for JIA patients. Interventions aimed at reducing perceived disability, stimulating physical activity, and enhancing self-efficacy might reduce fatigue and thereby enhance participation. Trial registration: Trial number ISRCTN92733069

Original languageEnglish
Article number14:65
JournalPediatric Rheumatology
Publication statusPublished - 6 Dec 2016


  • Exercise capacity
  • Fatigue
  • Juvenile idiopathic arthritis
  • Participation
  • Patient reported outcome
  • Physical activity
  • Self-efficacy


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