ObjectiveParticipation in society of persons with chronic diseases receives increasing attention. However, little is known about which components of participation are most relevant to life satisfaction. This study examines the association between several aspects of social role participation and satisfaction with life (SWL) in patients with ankylosing spondylitis (AS) compared to population controls. MethodsIn a cross-sectional study, participants completed the Social Role Participation Questionnaire (SRPQ) and SWL scale. The SRPQ assesses several dimensions of participation (importance, satisfaction with performance, and satisfaction with time and physical difficulty) in 11 roles representing 3 domains (interpersonal relations, leisure, and work). For individuals with AS and controls, the association between role domains and SWL was examined using linear regression for each participation dimension separately, in the total and the employed population, adjusting for age, sex, education, and income. ResultsA total of 246 AS patients (mean SD age 51 +/- 12 years, 62% males, mean +/- SD disease duration 17 +/- 12 years) and 510 controls (mean +/- SD age 42 +/- 15 years, 70% males) were included. AS patients were more frequently (extremely) dissatisfied with life (17.9% versus 8.6%; P < 0.05). In the total and the employed population, less physical difficulty and higher satisfaction with interpersonal relations and leisure were associated with higher SWL, and this was somewhat stronger in patients than in controls (P < 0.1). In employed controls, but not in employed patients, satisfaction with work was independently associated with SWL. ConclusionThese findings highlight the importance of supporting persons with AS in ameliorating social role participation, particularly in areas like close relationships and leisure activities, which are typically ignored when treating AS.