Objective: To test and cross-validate a model using disease activity, pain, and helplessness to predict future psychological and physical disability in persons with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) across time.
Methods: Measures of disease activity, pain, helplessness, psychological function, and physical function were collected from 63 males with RA at baseline, 3 months, and 6 months. Path analytic methods were used to examine longitudinal relationships among these variables.
Results: Path analysis revealed that pain and helplessness were significant mediators of the relationship between disease activity and future disability in RA; the predictive model withstood two cross-validations.
Conclusion: The findings suggest that pain and helplessness are key biopsychosocial variables that affect the development of disability in RA.