Objective: To assess, using both qualitative/inductive and quantitative data, whether people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) have schemas related to arthritis.
Methods: Themes identified from interview and focus group transcripts were used to develop 1) questionnaire items, and 2) statements participants were asked to recall during home interviews. Two hundred one people with RA completed questionnaires and recall tasks of the type used in cognitive research, followed 10 days later by another recall assessment by telephone.
Results: Qualitative methods, item-level questionnaire data, and category-level recall data yielded convergent results supporting 4 final categories: mastery, support, loss of independence, and depression. Regression analyses indicated that category of earlier recollections predicted subsequent recollections assessed via phone.
Conclusions: Results from widely different methods offer at least partial support for arthritis schemas and suggest that the concepts identified are meaningful to patients as well as to researchers.