The impact of rheumatoid arthritis on life activities



Objective. To examine the proportion of valued activities performed by persons with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and the change in this proportion over a 5-year period and to compare the performance and loss of valued activities of persons with and without RA.

Methods. Data were drawn from a longitudinal panel study of persons with RA. Valued activities were assessed using a standardized questionnaire.

Results. Over a 5-year period, persons with RA lost approximately 10% of the activities they had valued. Losses were noted in every domain of activity. The greatest losses were seen in work-related, service, nurturant, cultural and leisure, and social participation activities. Compared to persons without arthritis, persons with RA performed fewer valued activities at baseline, and lost more valued activities over the 5-year period.

Conclusions. RA takes a considerable toll on the ability of people with the disease to perform valued life activities. Other research has shown that the loss of valued activities is a strong risk factor for the development of depressive symptoms among women with RA.