Anxiety and depression among US adults with arthritis: prevalence and correlates

Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2012 Jul;64(7):968-76. doi: 10.1002/acr.21685.


Objective: There has been limited characterization of the burden of anxiety and depression, especially the former, among US adults with arthritis in the general population. The study objective was to estimate the prevalence and correlates of anxiety and depression among US adults with doctor-diagnosed arthritis.

Methods: The study sample comprised US adults ages ≥ 45 years with doctor-diagnosed arthritis (n = 1,793) from the Arthritis Conditions Health Effects Survey (a cross-sectional, population-based, random-digit-dialed telephone interview survey). Anxiety and depression were measured using separate and validated subscales of the Arthritis Impact Measurement Scales. Prevalence was estimated for the sample overall and stratified by subgroups. Associations between correlates and each condition were estimated with prevalence ratios and 95% confidence intervals using logistic regression models.

Results: Anxiety was more common than depression (31% and 18%, respectively); overall, one-third of respondents reported at least 1 of the 2 conditions. Most (84%) of those with depression also had anxiety. Multivariable logistic regression modeling failed to identify a distinct profile of characteristics of those with anxiety and/or depression. Only half of the respondents with anxiety and/or depression had sought help for their mental health condition in the past year.

Conclusion: Despite the clinical focus on depression among people with arthritis, anxiety was almost twice as common as depression. Given their high prevalence, their profound impact on quality of life, and the range of effective treatments available, we encourage health care providers to screen all people with arthritis for both anxiety and depression.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anxiety / epidemiology*
  • Arthritis / psychology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depression / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Quality of Life / psychology
  • United States / epidemiology