Pain, Anxiety, and Negative Outcome Expectations for Activity: Do Negative Psychological Profiles Differ Between the Inactive and Active?




Adherence to physical activity at ≥150 minutes/week has proven to offer disease management and health-promoting benefits among adults with arthritis. While highly active people seem undaunted by arthritis pain and are differentiated from the moderately active by adherence-related psychological factors, knowledge about inactive individuals is lacking. This knowledge may identify what to change in order to help inactive people begin and maintain physical activity. The present study examined the planned, self-regulated activity of high, moderate, and inactive individuals to determine if differences existed in negative psychological factors.


Adults with a medical diagnosis of arthritis completed online measures of physical activity, perceived pain intensity, pain anxiety, and negative disease-related outcome expectations from being active. High active (n = 94), moderately active (n = 77), and inactive (n = 104) groups were identified.


A significant multivariate analysis of covariance revealed group differences (P < 0.001). Followup analyses indicated that inactive participants had the most negative psychological profile. Inactive participants reported that negative disease-related outcomes expectancies were more distressing and likely to occur than either group of active participants and expressed greater pain intensity and pain anxiety than the highly active participants (P < 0.05 for all).


Identifying differences in negative psychological factors aids in the understanding of differential adherence between activity groups and highlights possible factors to change in future intervention and research.