History of affective disorder and the temporal trajectory of fatigue in rheumatoid arthritis
- Cite this article as:
- Fifield, J., McQuillan, J., Tennen, H. et al. ann. behav. med. (2001) 23: 34. doi:10.1207/S15324796ABM2301_6
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This study examines whether the general level and rate of change of fatigue over time is different for those rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients with and those without a history of affective disorder (AD). Four hundred fifteen RA patients from a national panel had yearly telephone interviews to obtain fatigue and distress reports, and a one-time semistructured assessment of the history of depression and generalized anxiety disorder. Growth-curve analysis was used to capture variations in initial fatigue levels and changes in fatigue over 7 years for those with and without a history. RA patients with a history of major AD reported levels of fatigue that were 10% higher than those without a history in the 1st year of the study. Their fatigue reports remained elevated over 7 years. Further analysis showed that the effects of a history of AD on fatigue are fully mediated through current distress, although those with a history had a significantly smaller distress-fatigue slope. Thus, a history of AD leaves RA patients at risk for a 7-year trajectory of fatigue that is consistently higher than that of patients without a history. The elevation in fatigue reports is, at least in part, a function of enduring levels of distress.