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The multifaceted impact of anxiety and depression on patients with rheumatoid arthritis


Peterson S1, Piercy J2,3, Blackburn S2, Sullivan E2, Karyekar CS1, Li N1. BMC Rheumatol. 2019 Oct 28;3:43. doi: 10.1186/s41927-019-0092-5. eCollection 2019.

Author Information

1 Janssen Global Services, Horsham, PA USA.

2 Adelphi Real World, Macclesfield, UK.

3 Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, UK.



The prevalence of mood disturbances such as anxiety and depression is greater in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients than in the general population. Given this association, the primary aim of this study was to assess the incremental impact of anxiety or depression on patients with RA from the United States of America (USA) and Europe, independent of the impact of the underlying RA disease.


Rheumatologists (n = 408) from the USA and 5 European countries completed patient record forms for a predetermined number of RA patients who consulted consecutively during the study period; these patients completed patient-reported questionnaires. Descriptive statistics and multivariate regression were used to investigate the relationship between anxiety and depression with treatment and economic outcomes in RA patients.


Of 1015 physician and patient pairs who completed all relevant questionnaire sections, 390 (38.4%) patients self-reported anxiety or depression, while 180 (17.7%) patients were reported to have anxiety or depression by their physicians. Controlling for age, gender, body mass index and clinical factors (flaring and severity), multiple regression analyses suggested that patients with anxiety or depression more often experienced treatment dissatisfaction (odds ratio [OR] 2.28; P < .001), had greater impairment in work (coefficient [β] = 11.82; P = .001) and usual activity (β = 14.73; P < .001), greater disability (β = .35; P < .001), and more often reported unemployment (OR 1.74; P = .001). Multinomial logistic regression revealed discordance between physician and patient satisfaction with treatment. For patients reporting anxiety or depression, physicians were more often satisfied with achievement of current disease control than patients (relative risk ratio 2.19; P = .002).


Concomitant anxiety or depression was associated with a significant incremental impact on the health-related quality of life and economic aspects of life of patients with RA. In light of observed differences between physician recognition of patient anxiety and/or depression versus patient reporting of anxiety and/or depression symptoms, further research is warranted to develop optimal screening and management of depression and anxiety in patients with RA.