Analyzing reliability of change in depression among persons with rheumatoid arthritis


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To examine several methods of determining reliability of change constructs in depressive symptoms in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and to demonstrate the strengths, weaknesses, and uses of each method.


Data were analyzed from a cohort of 54 persons with RA who participated in a combined behavioral/pharmacologic intervention of 15 months duration. These longitudinal data were used to examine 3 methodologies for assessing the reliability of change for various measures of depression. The specific methodologies involved the calculations of reliable change, sensitivity to change, and reliability of the change score.


The analyses demonstrated differences in reliability of change performance across the various depression measures, which suggest that no single measure of depression for persons with RA should be considered superior in all contexts.


The findings highlight the value of utilizing reliability of change constructs when examining changes in depressive symptoms over time.