Objective: Using the World Health Organization's classification system of the consequences of disease, this study sought to examine the impact of physical and psychological impairment variables, beyond that contributed by social, demographic, and disease variables, on the functional disability of a rheumatoid arthritis (RA) sample. Data collected during an acute episode were used to predict concurrent and future disability status.
Method: A secondary data analysis of 85 adults hospitalized for exacerbations in arthritis was undertaken. Disability was assessed with the Health Assessment Questionnaire. Physical impairment was measured with the Keitel Function Test and Pain Analog Scales, and psychological impairment was measured with the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale and the Perceived Self-Efficacy Scale for People with Arthritis.
Results: Our findings indicated that physical impairment, demographic, and disease variables accounted for 64% of the explained variance in disability during the concurrent episode. Psychological impairment as well as demographic and disease variables accounted for 49% of the explained variance in future disability status.
Conclusion: The combined influence of demographic characteristics and the consequences of the pathology of RA experienced as physical and psychological impairments contributed differentially to disability during concurrent and future time periods.