Objective. To examine the role of function and functional changes in the development of depressive symptoms among women with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Methods. Data from a longitudinal panel study of persons with RA were used. Functional changes were assessed from 1989 to 1991, and depressive symptoms during 1992.
Results. Loss of valued activities was a significant risk factor for developing depressive symptoms (i.e., score of ≥ 7 on the Short Form Geriatric Depression Scale), but overall functional decline was not.
Conclusion. The aspect of functional decline that leads to development of depressive symptoms is the loss of valued activities, not simply the functional impairment.