Objective. Persons with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) report more activity losses than persons without RA. Persons with RA who report depressive symptoms experience lower levels of functioning. We integrated these findings and examined the association of depressive symptoms with the activities in which persons with RA participate.
Methods. We surveyed 726 persons with RA and 192 matched controls. Within each group, we examined the perceived importance and actual performance of 65 life activities by individuals with and without depressive symptoms.
Results. Significantly more individuals with RA reported depressive symptoms. Among persons with RA, those who had depressive symptoms performed fewer activities, particularly fewer valued activities. In contrast, among controls, those who were depressed rated fewer activities as important, but exhibited few significant differences in the performance of activities.
Conclusions. Depressive symptoms and life activities are associated differently among persons with RA and controls. The higher rate of depression among persons with RA may be partially due to the inability to perform valued activities.