Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Zimmerman, M. Nadine

Degree Name

M.S. Ed. (Master of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Physical Education


Rheumatoid arthritis in children; Exercise for children


The purposes of this study were to ascertain the differences among doctors of rheumatology toward (a) weight-bearing exercise for children with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA), and (b) recommendations for physical education activities for children within three different age groups. The subjects for this research were 75 rheumatology specialists belonging to the Illinois Chapter of the Arthritis Foundation. A questionnaire was developed by the researcher and mailed to the selected physicians. They were asked to respond to the questions presented on a 5-point, Likert-type scale. Fifty-five percent of the physicians responded (JN = 34). Approximately 50% of the physicians responding to the questionnaire reported that they sometimes recommended weight-bearing exercise for, children with JRA. An ANOVA was used to calculate whether frequency of recommendations for weight-bearing exercise varies according to the physician's case load. Rheumatology specialists with a very high case load (100 or more patients) recommended weight-bearing exercise significantly more often than doctors with lesser loads. Physical education was frequently recommended by 77% of the participants, and 40% recommended adapted (modified) physical education. Regular physical education was recommended by 34.6%. Very few (5 or less) specific activities were recommended by at least 25% of the responding rheumatologists in each of three age groups. Activities recommended for preschool age children (0-4 years) include walking, swimming, dancing, crawling, and creeping. Swimming, walking, cycling, and dancing were recommended by at least 25% of the respondents for elementary school-age (6-11 years) and secondary school-age (12-18 years) children with JRA. Golf was recommended by 27.2% for 12- to 18-year-old JRA children. Swimming received the greatest percentage of recommendations overall: (a) preschool age, 50%; (b) elementary school age, 6-11 years, 77.3%; and (c) secondary school age, 12-18 years, 80%. Only 12.5% frequently recommended running. A majority of the doctors also did not frequently recommend any of the individual or team sport activities listed. It was concluded that doctors of rheumatology do differ in recommendations for weight-bearing exercise, and recommendations for physical activities for children with JRA varied among the age groups.


Bibliography: pages [64]-68.


vii, 78 pages




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