Disability and health-related quality of life among patients with rheumatoid arthritis: association with radiographic joint damage, disease activity, pain, and depressive symptoms

Scand J Rheumatol. 2006 May-Jun;35(3):175-81. doi: 10.1080/03009740500343260.


Objective: To study the associations between disability and health-related quality of life (HRQoL), respectively, and radiographic joint damage, disease activity, pain, and depressive symptoms among patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Methods: Data were collected through questionnaires and clinical examinations at baseline (1997) and at 2 years' follow-up among patients with RA (n = 307). Disability was measured with a validated Dutch questionnaire, derived from the Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ), and HRQoL with a validated Dutch version of the RAND-36, using physical (PCS) and mental (MCS) component summary scales. Multivariate linear regression analyses were performed to assess the relationship between disability or HRQoL and radiographic damage, disease activity, pain, and depressive symptoms.

Results: Pain, with respect to disability and PCS, and depressive symptoms, with respect to MCS, were more important predictors than radiographic damage and disease activity.

Conclusions: Daily RA practice needs to be broadened by regular assessment of disease burden from the patients' perspectives. Patient-reported measures, such as disability or HRQoL, should be incorporated for monitoring health outcomes of individual patients and for initiating and evaluating therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / diagnostic imaging
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / physiopathology*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / psychology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depression / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Foot Joints / diagnostic imaging
  • Foot Joints / physiopathology*
  • Hand Joints / diagnostic imaging
  • Hand Joints / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / physiopathology
  • Quality of Life* / psychology
  • Radiography