Psychosocial predictors of functional change in recently diagnosed rheumatoid arthritis patients

Behav Res Ther. 1998 Feb;36(2):179-93. doi: 10.1016/s0005-7967(98)00019-9.


In order to examine the influence of active and passive pain-coping strategies and social support characteristics on the change in functional status in the first stage of the disease in rheumatoid arthritis patients, self-report data and clinical and laboratory measures were collected from 91 patients (70% female, mean age 57 yr) shortly after diagnosis and 1 yr later. Multiple regression analyses indicated that, after taking the influence of demographic variables, disease activity and pain into account, a decrease in functional status (mobility, self-care, grip strength) after 1 yr could be predicted by an initially more frequent use of the passive pain-coping strategies of worrying and resting. A decrease in mobility could be additionally predicted by an initially smaller social network. Results indicate the impact of passive pain-coping strategies and social network characteristics for the prognosis of functional outcome in the first stage of the disease and suggest the early manifestation of avoidance mechanisms, including behavioral, cognitive-emotional and social components, in face of a chronic stressor.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living / psychology*
  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / diagnosis
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / psychology*
  • Defense Mechanisms
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Sick Role*
  • Social Support*