Arthritis is a common chronic disease causing pain and progressive disability to millions of people. The purpose of the study was to examine the effectiveness of group patient education for people with one form of arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis (AS), in terms of change in: arthritis self-efficacy; psychological well-being; physical well-being; and home exercise activities. The Self-Management Course-Ankylosing Spondylitis (SMC-AS) demonstrated positive effects on arthritis self-efficacy and psychological well-being at 6-month follow-up. Analysis of change over time in the intervention group showed improvements in depression, self-efficacy and severity at 3 weeks, with trends towards continued improvement evident at 6 months. In contrast, the positive effects on range and frequency of home exercise activities at 3 weeks were not maintained at 6 months. In conclusion, the effectiveness of short, intensive patient education courses was demonstrated. However, the need for strategies to sustain improvements in exercise behaviour need to be explored.