Researchers from the UOC are making it easier for teenagers with juvenile idiopathic arthritis to socialize
Photo: Flickr / Amanda Tipton (CC)
15/06/2016
Jordi Rovira

The UOC’s PSiNET (Psychology, Health & the Net) research group – part of the Internet Interdisciplinary Institute (IN3) – is conducting a study to analyse the social relationships of young people with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) and the way in which their pain affects their lives. The aim is to create online resources to help them deal with a disease that can involve chronic and recurrent swellings and joint pain. These symptoms disrupt young people’s daily activities and affect their quality of life. This rheumatoid disease is one of the most common chronic conditions, with the first signs typically appearing before the age of 16 and affecting 10 out of every 100,000 children. According to a study conducted in 2010 however, the case rates in Catalonia are lower than those in other parts of Europe, such as the Scandinavian countries.

Going by the name "AIJ teens", the UOC’s research project (in collaboration with the patient associations Lliga Reumatolgica Catalana, Aspanijer and Liga Reumatoloxica Galega) started in March 2016 and has already obtained some preliminary results. The initial data confirm how social lives are affected by the physical restrictions caused by the disease. The study shows that all the adolescents contacted are in favour of making resources available online to help other young people with the same problem. Participants value the usefulness of receiving information about how to manage their disease, as well as being able to interact with professionals and other people suffering the same condition.

Imma Beneitez, one of the researchers leading the project, highlights that with this research “we want to find out about the needs of teenagers suffering with juvenile idiopathic arthritis in their friendships, in order to create and develop digital resources that can help them to manage and improve their lives”.


Participate in the study

The research group is looking for people affected by JIA who are willing to take part in the study. If interested, you can write to aijteens.uoc@gmail.com or phone +34 933 263 418.

You can download an information sheet on the disease from this link.