Group therapies for rheumatoid arthritis: A controlled study of two approaches

Authors

  • Gordon D. Strauss MD,

    Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Corresponding author
    1. Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences and the Department of Medicine, University of California at Los Angeles
    • 760 Westwood Plaza, Los Angeles, CA 90024
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  • Jane Sinden Spiegel MD, MPH,

    Assistant Professor of Medicine
    1. Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences and the Department of Medicine, University of California at Los Angeles
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  • Marcia Daniels MD,

    Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
    1. Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences and the Department of Medicine, University of California at Los Angeles
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  • Timothy Spiegel MD, MPH,

    Assistant Professor of Medicine
    1. Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences and the Department of Medicine, University of California at Los Angeles
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  • John Landsverk PhD,

    Assistant Research Sociologist
    1. Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences and the Department of Medicine, University of California at Los Angeles
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  • Peter Roy-Byrne MD,

    Senior Staff Fellow
    1. Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences and the Department of Medicine, University of California at Los Angeles
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  • Carole Edelstein MD,

    Assistant Clinical Professor
    1. Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences and the Department of Medicine, University of California at Los Angeles
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  • Johanna Ehlhardt RN: UCLA,

    Neuropsychiatric Institute
    1. Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences and the Department of Medicine, University of California at Los Angeles
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  • Roberta Falke UCLA,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences and the Department of Medicine, University of California at Los Angeles
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  • Lee Hindin MD,

    Clinical Instructor
    1. Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences and the Department of Medicine, University of California at Los Angeles
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  • Les Zackler MD

    Assistant Clinical Professor
    1. Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences and the Department of Medicine, University of California at Los Angeles
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Abstract

An important unanswered question about rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is how the patient's psychological or emotional state relates to disease activity and functional status. No controlled studies of psychothera-peutic interventions in RA have been reported. To test the hypothesis that a psychosocial intervention would lead to improvement in functional status or disease activity, 57 RA patients were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 groups, which received: 1) conventional group psychotherapy; 2) group assertion/relaxation training; or 3) no treatment (control group). Patient and physician questionnaires collected at baseline, immediately after the interventions, and 12 months after baseline provided outcome data on functional status, social and psychological adaptation, psychological symptoms, and disease activity. There were few outcome measures for which either treatment resulted in significantly higher scores than were seen in controls, though more improvement did occur among patients who received conventional group psychotherapy.

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