Anxiety in rheumatoid arthritis

Authors


  • The opinions of this publication are those of the grantee and do not reflect those of the Department of Education or the Department of Veterans' Affairs.

Abstract

Objective

To examine the level of anxiety experienced by individuals with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Methods

Data from 2 previous studies were used to compare the level of anxiety (measured by the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory) in the following 4 subgroups: a general RA sample, a general osteoarthritis sample, a sample with both RA and major depression, and a normative sample of age-equivalent, working adults. Canonical correlations were used to examine associations between measures of anxiety and measures of both stress and depression. The relationship between anxiety and duration of RA was also explored.

Results

The general RA sample had state anxiety levels that were comparable to the normative sample, although trait anxiety levels were significantly higher (P < 0.001). In addition, individuals with RA who also met criteria for depression exhibited significantly higher levels of both state anxiety (P < 0.0001) and trait anxiety (P < 0.0001) than was observed in the normative sample. Canonical correlations revealed that measures of anxiety were correlated with both measures of depression (r = 0.83) and measures of stress (r = 0.50). Anxiety was not found to be significantly related to RA disease duration.

Conclusion

These findings demonstrated that individuals with RA, especially if concomitantly depressed, tend to exhibit levels of anxiety that are generally higher than a normative group of age-equivalent, working adults. The substantial canonical correlations between anxiety and both depression and stress revealed that anxiety shares variance with these more frequently studied variables in RA. However, anxiety was not found to be related to RA disease duration.

Ancillary