To determine whether research evaluating the effectiveness of behavioral interventions for arthritis demonstrates that these interventions are effective with, and appropriately utilized by, minority participants.


A systematic review was conducted of arthritis intervention research from 1997 to 2008. For each article, information was gathered on the percentage of participants who were from different racial/ethnic groups, whether interventions were shown to be effective for minority participants, whether differential attrition analyses were conducted, whether efforts were reported in minority recruitment and retention, and whether attempts were made to make interventions culturally appropriate.


We identified 25 randomized intervention studies. Of these, only 2 reported on whether the intervention was similarly effective for white and black patients (equal effectiveness was found), and 6 studies reported examining differences in attrition by race (higher attrition in nonwhites was found in 1 study). Most studies did not report the percentage of participants from specific minority groups, and in many studies the percentage of minority participants was small. No studies reported making systematic efforts to assure that interventions were culturally appropriate for minority participants.


Minority patients with arthritis are at risk for higher levels of disability than white patients, but little is known about whether evidence-based interventions for arthritis are effective for culturally diverse patients. In addition, minority patients appear to be underrepresented in intervention research, and too little attention has been paid to minority recruitment and assuring that interventions are culturally appropriate for diverse patients.