Patients with psychiatric diagnoses have lower quality of life than other patients with juvenile rheumatic disease: a prospective study

Rheumatology (Oxford). 2021 Dec 1;60(12):5560-5566. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/keab150.


Objectives: Transition of adolescents with chronic diseases from paediatric healthcare to adult care requires attention to maintain optimal treatment results. We examined changes in health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and disease activity among JIA patients with or without concomitant psychiatric diagnoses after transfer to an adult clinic.

Methods: We prospectively followed 106 consecutive patients who were transferred from the New Children's Hospital to the Helsinki University Hospital Rheumatology outpatient clinic between April 2015 and August 2019 and who had at least one follow-up visit. HRQoL was measured using 15D, a generic instrument.

Results: The patients' median age at transfer was 16 years and disease duration 4.0 years. Patients were followed for a median of 1.8 years. Disease activity and overall HRQoL remained stable, but distress (dimension 13 of 15D) increased during follow up (P=0.03). At baseline, patients with at least one psychiatric diagnosis had lower overall 15D scores [mean 0.89 (s.d. 0.14) vs 0.95 (s.d. 0.05), P <0.01] and higher disease activity [DAS28mean 1.88 (s.d. 0.66) vs 1.61 (s.d. 0.31), P = 0.01] than patients without psychiatric diagnoses. The difference in overall 15D persisted over the study period.

Conclusion: Transition-phase JIA patients with psychiatric diagnoses had lower HRQoL than other JIA patients. Despite reduced disease activity and pain, HRQoL of patients with psychiatric diagnoses remained suboptimal at the end of follow-up. Our results highlight the necessity of comprehensive care and support for transition-phase JIA patients.

Keywords: distress; health-related quality of life; juvenile idiopathic arthritis; mental health; transition of care.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hospitals, University
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / complications*
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life*
  • Rheumatic Diseases / complications*
  • Rheumatic Diseases / psychology
  • Young Adult