Stress-vulnerability factors as long-term predictors of disease activity in early rheumatoid arthritis.
SourceJournal of Psychosomatic Research, 55, 4, (2003), pp. 293-302
Article / Letter to editor
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Journal of Psychosomatic Research
SubjectEBP 1: Determinants of Health and Disease; EBP 1: Determinants of Health and Disease
OBJECTIVE: Stress-vulnerability factors were studied for their ability to predict long-term disease activity in early rheumatoid arthritis. METHODS: In a prospective study involving 78 recently diagnosed rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients, the role of personality characteristics (neuroticism, extraversion), physical and psychological stressors (chronic, disease-related stressors of functional disability, pain, disease impact on daily life, as well as major life events), coping and social support at the time of diagnosis was examined to predict changes in clinical indicators of disease activity 1, 3 and 5 years later. RESULTS: While stress-vulnerability factors failed to predict disease activity at the 1-year follow-up, disease activity at the 3- and 5-year follow-ups was predicted by coping and social support at the time of diagnosis, after adjusting for disease activity at first assessment, other biomedical and psychosocial factors and use of medication. Low levels of social support predicted increased disease activity at the 3-year follow-up, and high avoidance coping predicted increased disease activity at the 3- and 5-year follow-ups. CONCLUSION: Findings indicate the potential prognostic value of avoidance coping and social support for the long-term course of disease activity in early RA and suggest that the effects of these vulnerability factors predominantly operate in the long term.
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