Arthritis & Rheumatism, Volume 62,
November 2010 Abstract Supplement

Abstracts of the American College of
Rheumatology/Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals
Annual Scientific Meeting
Atlanta, Georgia November 6-11, 2010.

The Assessment of Health-Related Family Functioning in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus: Preliminary Validation of the SLE-FAMILY.

Hassett6,  Afton L., Li1,  Tracy, Radvanski3,  Diane C., Buyske2,  Steven, Schiff4,  Samuel A., Katz5,  Patricia P.

Bristol-Myers Squibb, Princeton, NJ
Rutgers University
UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Union City, NJ
UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
Univ of CA San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI


Patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) often experience disabling symptoms that affect family relationships. To assess the impact of SLE on health-related family functioning we developed the SLE-FAMILY which evaluates six key domains: Fatigue (fatigue-related family activity impairment), Activities (general family activity impairment), Mental Health (emotional impact on family), Isolation (feelings of isolation from family), Love (loss of intimacy) and You (fulfilling family roles). The 6-item SLE-FAMILY has scores ranging from 1–7 with higher scores indicating worse family functioning. The major objectives of this study were to pilot test and achieve preliminary validation for the SLE-FAMILY.


52 patients with SLE completed questionnaires including the 6-item SLE-FAMILY, SF-36, Sheehan Disability Scale (SDS), Fatigue Severity Scale (FSS), Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support (MSPSS), Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS), Positive and Negative Affect Scale (PANAS) and the Systemic Lupus Activity Questionnaire (SLAQ). Data were analyzed for internal consistency reliability with Cronbach's alpha. Next, item statistics were calculated to assess the correlations between individual items and SLE-FAMILY total score. To evaluate convergent and discriminant validity, correlations between the SLE-FAMILY and the other measures were calculated.


Mean age for the 52 participants was 36.8 (SD11.9) years with a mean duration of illness of 8.4 years (SD6.7). Most were female (88.5%). The SLE-FAMILY had good test-retest reliability (0.83) and internal consistency (0.67). However, reliability analysis of individual items revealed a weakness in the performance of Item 5. Raw data were reviewed and it was determined that 9 patients likely overlooked the reverse-scoring of Item 5, thus explaining its poor reliability. When the 9 patients were excluded from the analysis, alpha increased to 0.71, while test-retest reliability remained acceptable (0.78). Spearman's rho correlations supported the validity of the SLE-FAMILY as its total score was significantly related to SDS Family (r=0.67, p<.001) and SDS Social (r=0.60, p<.001); SLAQ (r=0.68, p<.001); PANAS negative subscale (r=0.55, p<.001) and FSS (r=0.62, p<.001). Similarly, the SLE-FAMILY total score was inversely related to relevant SF-36 subscales scores including: Social Functioning (r=-0.55, p<.001), Role Emotional (r=-0.42, p=.005), Role Physical (r=-0.59, p<.001) and Mental Health (r=-0.48, p=.001).


The SLE-FAMILY is a promising new instrument for the more robust measurement of family functioning. Additional pilot testing using revised scoring options for Item 5 and additional validation studies are underway.

To cite this abstract, please use the following information:
Hassett, Afton L., Li, Tracy, Radvanski, Diane C., Buyske, Steven, Schiff, Samuel A., Katz, Patricia P.; The Assessment of Health-Related Family Functioning in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus: Preliminary Validation of the SLE-FAMILY. [abstract]. Arthritis Rheum 2010;62 Suppl 10 :625
DOI: 10.1002/art.28393

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