Impact of fatigue on health-related quality of life in rheumatoid arthritis

Arthritis Rheum. 2004 Aug 15;51(4):578-85. doi: 10.1002/art.20539.


Objective: To multidimensionally assess fatigue in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and to evaluate the impact of fatigue on health-related quality of life (HRQOL).

Methods: The study was conducted in 1999 among 490 RA patients with varying disease duration. Fatigue was measured with the Multidimensional Fatigue Inventory (MFI-20) and HRQOL with a validated Dutch version of the RAND 36-Item Health Survey. We evaluated the impact of fatigue on HRQOL by multiple linear regression analyses taking into account RA-related pain and depressive symptoms.

Results: Different aspects of fatigue selectively explained different dimensions of HRQOL. The MFI-20 was entered last to the linear regression models, resulting in an additional increase of explained variance of 1% (mental health) to 14% (vitality).

Conclusion: The multidimensional portrayal of RA-related fatigue can be used to develop intervention strategies targeted to specific aspects of fatigue. Fatigue, supplementary to RA-related pain and depressive symptoms, appears to be a feasible and treatable target in the clinical management of RA to increase HRQOL.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / epidemiology*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / psychology*
  • Comorbidity
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Fatigue / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / epidemiology
  • Quality of Life*