234798 An Intervention to Reduce Psychosocial and Biological Indicators of Stress in African American Lupus Patients: The Balancing Lupus Experiences with Stress Strategies (BLESS) Study

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Edith M. Williams, PhD, MS , Institute for Partnerships to Eliminate Health Disparities, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC
James Oates, MD , College of Medicine, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC
Diane Kamen, MD, MSCR , Rheumatology & Immunology, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC
Psychosocial stress is believed to be positively associated with lupus disease activity due to its ability to compromise immune function. Very little is known about the impact of psychosocial stress on underlying biological mechanisms, although data indicate that lupus patients differ from healthy controls in stress-induced immune responses. Even less is known about this phenomenon in African American lupus patients, although African American women display the highest rates of lupus. Due to the exposure of African Americans to a unique trajectory of stressors throughout the life course, it may be critical to understand the relationship between psychosocial stress and underlying biological mechanisms that influence disease activity and pathology in this high risk group. Linking a psychosocial stress intervention with clinical measures of stress in African American lupus patients will assess the utility of this method in reducing perceived stress, and provide the necessary preliminary steps toward future investigations of potential mechanisms. To begin to fill this research void, a stress intervention was piloted and both biological specimens and questionnaire responses collected to assess changes in stress state following the intervention in patients who participated in the intervention compared to those who did not participate in the intervention. Research activities were conducted among a cohort of African American lupus patients at the Medical University of South Carolina. Preliminary findings will be shared.

Learning Areas:
Chronic disease management and prevention
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
By the end of the session, the participant will be able to: 1. Name acceptable measures of stress 2. List the components of an effective stress management program 3. Discuss the utility of linking a psychosocial stress intervention with clinical measures of stress in African American lupus patients in reducing perceived stress.

Keywords: Lupus, Stress

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I am the Principal Investigator of the research to be presented.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.