Although many studies of the impact of haemophilia on the quality of life were conducted, there is hardly any data on the social status of haemophiliacs. It was the aim of our study to obtain data on the social status of Austrian haemophiliacs and to compare these with an age- and sex-matched reference population. Furthermore, we collected data on the quality of life of haemophilia patients. We conducted a case-control study in two Austrian haemophilia centres with 53 patients (mean age 36.7 +/- 10.6 years) and 104 male controls (mean age 36.7 +/- 11.1 years). Socio-demographic data were collected using a standardized questionnaire and quality-of-life data using the SF-36. More patients (56.6%) than controls (37.5%) were married (P = 0.023), whereas more controls (17.3%) than patients (3.8%) had a partner with whom they were not married (P = 0.016). The percentage having children was equivalent in both groups (47% and 41% respectively), but controls had more children (mean number 1.5 in patients and 2.1 in controls, P < 0.007). A greater number of patients was unemployed (34% of patients, 9% of controls, P < 0.001) as well as retired (23% and 4% respectively; P < 0.001). Patients had worse scores regarding physical functioning, role-physical, bodily pain and general health (P < 0.001), whereas vitality, social functioning, role-emotional and mental health were similar in both groups. Despite their disability, most of the Austrian haemophiliacs share a sound family environment. This suggests that they are highly capable of coping with their chronic disease and is indicated by good scores for role-emotional and mental health.
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