A blind, randomized, controlled trial of cognitive-behavioural intervention for patients with recent onset rheumatoid arthritis: preventing psychological and physical morbidity

Pain. 2001 Jan;89(2-3):275-83. doi: 10.1016/s0304-3959(00)00379-1.


This study examined the efficacy of a cognitive and behavioural intervention (CBT) for patients with recent onset, seropositive rheumatoid arthritis. Fifty-three participants with a diagnosis of classical or definite rheumatoid arthritis, who were seropositive and had less than 2 years of disease history were recruited into the trial. All participants received routine medical management during the study, although half were randomly allocated to receive an adjunctive psychological intervention. All pre- and post-treatment assessments were conducted blind to the allocation. Analyses were conducted of treatment completers and also by intention-to-treat. Significant differences were found between the groups at both post-treatment and 6-month follow-up in depressive symptoms. While the CBT group showed a reduction in depressive symptoms, the same symptoms increased in the Standard group. At outcome but not follow-up, the CBT group also showed reduction in C-reactive protein levels. However, the CBT group did show significant improvement in joint involvement at 6-month follow-up compared with the Standard group, indicating physical improvements above those achieved with standard care. These results indicate that cognitive-behavioural intervention offered as an adjunct to standard clinical management early in the course of RA is efficacious in producing reductions in both psychological and physical morbidity

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Aged
  • Anxiety / etiology
  • Anxiety / prevention & control
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / physiopathology
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / psychology*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / therapy*
  • Behavior Therapy*
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy*
  • Depression / etiology
  • Depression / prevention & control
  • Disease Progression
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Measurement
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Surveys and Questionnaires