Aim of the study
A relative can be an asset in dealing with chronic illnesses such as acromegaly where quality of life is altered even after remission. However, it has been shown that quality of life of caregivers can also be impacted. Our main objective was to explore the consequences of acromegaly in remission in the patient-relative dyad in a matter of quality of life and self-esteem.
In this French monocentric observational study, to better characterize the perception of the disease by the relative, patients body image (Stunkard figurines) and self-esteem were evaluated from the patients point of view and from the relatives (n = 27 dyads, including 77.7% partners and 22.2% children) using the same questionnaires with modified instructions. Both evaluations were correlated in an original approach to try to understand the differences of the perception of acromegaly in remission seen by the partner when he/she was asked to think of what would be the answer given by the patient. The patient and the relative were also asked to fulfil quality of life, anxiety/depression and coping strategies questionnaires.
The relative had an overall accurate estimation of the patients body image (P = 0.171 in comparison with the patient). However, there were individual variations between the patients and the relatives answers for self-esteem and body perception from an individual viewpoint. The relatives quality of life was not altered and was significantly higher in the social domain than for the patient. As expected, patients had a significantly lower quality of life and body satisfaction than the French population: in multivariate analysis, self-esteem was associated with an impaired psychological quality of life score. Finally, the adaptation strategy preferentially adopted by the relative was positive thinking. Problem solving came in second position, and seeking social support in third.
Our study is the first to analyse the consequences of acromegaly of the patient-relative dyad in a matter of quality of life and self-esteem. Despite inter-individual changes between the patients and the relatives view, our results show that the relative appeared to have an accurate estimation of the patients body image. However, the relative was not fully aware of the consequences of body changes on the patients self-esteem. The relative should thus be educated in all the steps of the management of acromegaly, and be encourages not to postpone seeking social support.
This work was financed by an unrestricted educational grant received from IPSEN.
22 May 2021 - 26 May 2021