Differences between participants and nonparticipants in an exercise trial for adults with rheumatoid arthritis

Arthritis Rheum. 2004 Aug 15;51(4):593-600. doi: 10.1002/art.20531.


Objective: To investigate the generalizability of the results of a randomized controlled trial on the effectiveness of long-term, high-intensity exercises in the rheumatoid arthritis patients in training (RAPIT) trial by comparing the characteristics of the participants with the nonparticipants.

Methods: Participants and nonparticipants were mailed questionnaires on sociodemographic characteristics, health status, reasons not to participate, and attitudes toward intensive exercise.

Results: The questionnaires from 892 (75%) nonparticipants and 299 (97%) participants were collected. The nonparticipants were slightly older, more often male, and had longer disease duration than the participants. The nonparticipants perceived their disease as more serious, used fewer disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs, had a lower level of education, and a more negative attitude toward intensive exercise.

Conclusion: The results of the RAPIT trial might not be generalizable to the entire target population. To promote participation in long-term, high-intensity exercises, health professionals should more actively discuss the potential benefits of exercise with their RA patients while taking into consideration specific factors related to participation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / therapy*
  • Attitude
  • Exercise Therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Participation*
  • Patient Selection
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires