Functional ability, social support, and depression in rheumatoid arthritis

D.M. Doeglas, Th.P.B.M. Suurmeijer, W.J.A. van den Heuvel, B. Krol, Martin van Rijswijk, M.A. van Leeuwen, R. Sanderman

OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review

50 Citaten (Scopus)


Objective: First, to investigate the patterns of functional ability, depressive feelings, and social support in early stage rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients. Second, to demonstrate the stress buffering effect of social support. Social support is thought to reduce the impact of chronic stress on psychological well-being; for patients without social support the impact of functional ability on depressive feelings will be stronger. Methods: In 4 waves with an intervening period of 1 year, longitudinal data was collected of 264 Dutch RA patients, of which 65% was female. At T1, the mean age of these patients was 53 years, while their mean disease duration was 22 months. In an interview at the patients' homes, data was collected on functional ability, social support en psychological well-being. The buffering effect of social support was examined by testing the significance of the ( computed) stressor by social support interaction term in a regression analysis on depressive feelings. Results: Although large differences between subjects existed, the mean scores on functional ability, social support, and depressive feelings barely changed from year to year. Patients who deteriorated in functional ability during one year had the best chances to improve next year, and visa versa. Furthermore, the stress by support interaction terms had no significant effect on depressive feelings in a regression analysis. Conclusions: This study demonstrated clearly the fluctuating pattern of RA in the first years after onset. The patients' level of depressive feelings was linearly related to the level of functional ability. Like many other studies, also this study could not provide evidence for the stress buffering effect of social support.

Originele taal-2English
Pagina's (van-tot)1053-1065
Aantal pagina's13
TijdschriftQuality of Life Research
Nummer van het tijdschrift6
StatusPublished - aug.-2004

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