The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between stress factors, emotional stress and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) disease activity. Subjects (n= 101) confirmed to have RA completed the Daily Hassles Scale (DHS) to identify daily stress factors and the State/Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) as well as a visual analogue (VA) to measure emotional stress levels. The investigator evaluated RA disease activity (RADA) and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR). Pearson product-moment correlation was used for statistical evaluation. A statistically significant, positive correlation was found between RADA and both measures of emotional stress; STAI r2= 0.16, VA r2= 0.25, P < 0.01. Utilizing a psychophysiological feedback loop model, it was hypothesized that emotional stress levels and RA disease activity each served as a driving force and a consequence, i.e. as emotional stress levels increased, RA symptoms intensified and, likewise, as RA symptoms intensified, emotional stress levels increased. Nursing interventions were identified which possibly would reduce emotional stress levels, and thus, perhaps, decrease the incidence and /or severity of RA disease activity.