Stress management and mutual support groups are employed widely in chronic illness, although their efficacy has not been established. To determine the effect of these measures on morbidity and psychologic health in rheumatoid arthritis, 105 patients meeting diagnostic criteria for rheumatoid arthritis were evaluated for depression, life satisfaction, functional disability, and indicators of disease activity. Patients were randomly assigned to one of three groups: (1) stress management; (2) mutual support; (3) no intervention (control). After completion of 10 weekly sessions, identical tests were performed for all patients in the intervention and control groups. Patients in the intervention groups showed greater improvement in joint tenderness than did the control patients but did not differ significantly from the patients in the control group in any of the other outcome measures.