A randomized controlled trial of the people with arthritis can exercise program: Symptoms, function, physical activity, and psychosocial outcomes


  • ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NTC00146393.



To evaluate the basic 8-week People with Arthritis Can Exercise (PACE) program for improvements in primary (symptoms, functioning, level of physical activity) and secondary (psychosocial) outcomes.


A total of 346 individuals with self-reported arthritis from 18 sites participated in a randomized controlled trial of PACE. Outcomes were measured at baseline and 8 weeks. The intervention group completed self-reported assessments at 3 and 6 months. Two-level multiple linear regression models were estimated to calculate adjusted outcome means in the intervention and control groups. A mixed-effects repeated-measures model was used to calculate adjusted means in the intervention group at 3 and 6 months. Both intent-to-treat (ITT) and as-treated (AT) analyses were conducted.


At 8 weeks, the intervention group had improvements in the following outcomes: 2 symptom outcomes (pain, fatigue) and 1 psychosocial outcome (self-efficacy for managing arthritis) in the ITT analyses; 1 symptom outcome (pain), 1 function outcome (chair stands), and 1 psychosocial outcome (self-efficacy for arthritis management) in the AT analyses. In addition, completers who attended ≥9 classes had improvements in 3 symptom outcomes (pain, fatigue, stiffness), 2 function outcomes (10-pound lifts, chair stands), and 1 psychosocial outcome (self-efficacy for arthritis management) at 8 weeks. Relative to baseline, PACE participants maintained significant improvements in symptoms at 6 months, but declined in function and self-efficacy for exercise.


If adults with arthritis attend a majority of PACE classes, they may expect improvements in symptoms, self-efficacy for arthritis management, and upper and lower extremity function. Achieving sustained improvement in outcomes may require continued participation in PACE.