Beliefs about the causes of osteoarthritis among primary care patients




Beliefs about the causes of osteoarthritis (OA) have been examined infrequently. The purpose of this study was to provide insight into patients' beliefs about the causes of OA in a primary care population.


This study involved 31 individuals with OA who were purposively sampled to reflect age, sex, and self-efficacy scores from the intervention arm of a randomized controlled trial examining the effectiveness of an arthritis self-management program in primary care. Participants took part in face-to-face interviews. Data were analyzed using interpretative phenomenologic analysis.


A total of 31 patients with OA (17 [55%] men) with a median age of 68 years (range 56–84 years) were recruited. OA and painful joints were considered to be an inevitable aspect of aging rather than an indication of disease. Participants attributed the cause of OA to multiple factors, the most commonly reported being wear and tear.


Insight into beliefs about the causes of OA among older people may help explain attitudes towards the uptake of health care among this group of patients.