Coping With Osteoarthritis by Older Adults

Arthritis Care Res. 1996 Apr;9(2):133-41. doi: 10.1002/1529-0131(199604)9:2<133::aid-anr1790090210>;2-9.


Objective: To extend to patients with osteoarthritis (OA) the coping model developed for patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

Methods: Relationship among appraisal, coping, and impact of OA were examined in a prospective study. Older men and women with OA (n = 82) were recruited from the community and were assessed at baseline, 1 month, and 4 months. Appraisal at baseline was measured by an interview addressing patients' beliefs about the intensity of their OA. Active, passive, and behavioral coping were assessed at 1 month, and the impact on OA pain, affective status, and mood was assessed at 4 months.

Results: Appraisal of OA as more intense was related to the use of more passive coping at 1 month, and was also related to more negative mood at 4 months. Active coping was predictive of less depressed affective status, whereas passive coping was predictive of subsequent worsening of negative mood. These relationships remained significant after controlling for demographic and medical history variables and functional status measures associated with dependent variables. No relation of either appraisal or coping to pain or positive mood was observed.

Conclusions: The findings suggests that as patients' appraisals of the intensity of their OA decrease, less use of passive coping strategies, which are associated with poorer outcomes, should result. It is recommended that interventions to reduce OA impact should include both modification of appraisals of OA and modification of patients' coping strategies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Affect
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Psychological
  • Osteoarthritis / prevention & control*
  • Osteoarthritis / psychology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires