Objective: Patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) who experience depression have worse health outcomes. This study identifies predictors of depression in an ethnically and racially diverse population of patients with RA.
Methods: Patients with RA in a prospective cohort at the San Francisco General Hospital outpatient rheumatology clinic were included if they were age >or=18 years, met the American College of Rheumatology classification criteria for RA, had a Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ) score collected, and had the RA-specific Disease Activity Score performed by a rheumatologist. The outcome variable was a depression score measured by the Patient Health Questionnaire 9 (PHQ-9), a self-report questionnaire validated to correlate with a diagnosis of major depression.
Results: Three hundred forty-nine clinical visits for 172 patients were included in the analysis. Forty percent of patients scored >or=10 on the PHQ-9 during at least one clinic visit, which corresponds to a symptom severity of at least moderate depression. The mean PHQ-9 score was 7, corresponding to a symptom severity of mild depression. In the multivariate analysis, higher HAQ scores were associated with depression, and Asians had lower depression scores compared with Hispanic, white, and African American subjects.
Conclusion: Identifying associated predictors of depression in a diverse population of patients with RA can help guide treatment, which should include preventing disability and decreased function as well as targeting depressive symptoms more specifically in patients with RA.