Objective: Both impact of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) on valued life activities and dissatisfaction with abilities have been linked to depression among individuals with RA. We integrated these concepts by examining the hypothesis that satisfaction with one's abilities may explain the mechanism by which the impact of RA on valued activities leads to depression.
Methods: Data were collected over 2 years (1997 and 1998) through interviews with the University of California, San Francisco, RA panel. Analyses examined whether activity impairment in 1997 predicted later (1998) dissatisfaction with abilities and depression.
Results: Greater impact on activities predicted dissatisfaction with abilities, which in turn was associated with higher depression scores. There was no direct relationship between activity impact and depression when satisfaction with abilities was considered.
Conclusion: Satisfaction with abilities mediated the relationship between the impact of RA on valued activities and an increase in depressive symptoms, suggesting a need to assess not only physical decline but also individuals' interpretation of the decline.