Objective: The association between self-report physical disability scores and psychological well being in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) has been described in several recent publications on patients with widely varying disease durations. We describe the results of a study into these relationships in patients with RA with a disease duration of less than 1 year.
Methods: In this cross sectional study on 113 patients with recent onset RA disability was assessed with 3 self-report indices and with measurement of grip strength. Correlation coefficients between disability measures and disease activity measures (joint tenderness/swelling score, erythrocyte sedimentation rate [ESR)]), psychological well being (cheerful mood, depressive mood, and anxiety), and demographical variables were calculated; hierarchical regression analysis was done with disability measures as the dependent variables.
Results: All disability scales were correlated moderately strongly with the joint score and ESR, and with psychological well being. No relation was found with age, sex, marital status, or rheumatoid factor status. Regression analysis showed the variance of 9-15% in disability could be explained by psychological well being after disease activity had been controlled for.
Conclusion: Patients with recent onset RA appear not to be obviously different with respect to the moderately strong association between physical disability and psychological well being from patients with RA of longer duration in other published reports.