Associations between arthritis and a broad range of psychiatric disorders: findings from a nationally representative sample

J Pain. 2008 Jan;9(1):37-44. doi: 10.1016/j.jpain.2007.08.002. Epub 2007 Sep 24.


Data from the National Epidemiological Study of Alcoholism and Related Conditions (NESARC) were used to investigate associations between arthritis and a wide range of psychiatric disorders in a large sample (n = 43,093) representative of the adult population of the United States. NESARC participants completed the Alcohol Use Disorder and Associated Disabilities Interview Schedule--DSM-IV Version and provided reports regarding medical conditions, including arthritis, experienced over the past year. Logistic regression analyses that adjusted for potential confounding variables (ie, gender, marital status, age, income, and other health conditions) indicated that arthritis had significant positive associations with each of the 7 personality disorders included in the NESARC (ie, avoidant, dependent, obsessive-compulsive, paranoid, schizoid, histrionic, and antisocial). Arthritis also had significant positive associations with mood and anxiety disorders. In contrast to several recent studies indicating arthritis may have relatively larger associations with anxiety disorders than with major depression, the magnitudes of the associations involving anxiety disorders were not particularly large compared with those regarding depressive disorders. Alcohol- and substance-related disorders had negative associations with arthritis. However, additional analyses indicated that age was a confounding variable in these relationships and revealed that arthritis was not associated with either alcohol- or substance-related disorders.

Perspective: This article presents the first study to investigate associations between arthritis and personality disorders and is the first study to investigate relationships between a condition characterized by pain and personality disorders using a community sample. It may prompt research and clinical attention to the role of personality disorders in arthritis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Anxiety Disorders / epidemiology
  • Arthritis / epidemiology*
  • Arthritis / psychology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Marital Status
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Mood Disorders / epidemiology
  • Personality Disorders / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Sex Distribution
  • Social Class