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Keywords:

  • rheumatoid arthritis (RA);
  • pain;
  • visual analogue scale (VAS);
  • affect;
  • measurement

Assessment of pain, depression, and anxiety by visual analogue scale in Japanese women with rheumatoid arthritis

Visual analogue scales (VAS) of depression and anxiety were compared with standard full-length measures of these variables and with VAS of pain (VAS Pain). This was a good way to develop a practical methodology for the routine assessment of pain and affect in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients. The reliability of VAS Pain was studied by test–retest. The validity of VAS Pain in our sample was proved by correlations with the results of other tests. We also investigated the relationship between VAS Pain and C-reactive protein (CRP).

In 145 female RA patients, VAS of depression and anxiety were significantly correlated with full-length measures of these variables, and accounted for the majority of the explained variance in VAS Pain, while the full-length standard measures contributed little more.

In conclusion, VAS measurements of pain and affect were comprehensible, easily filled-out, and reliable in a sample of Japanese women with RA, and could capture some aspect of affective distress unique to RA patients.