, Volume 24, Issue 2, pp 109-121
Date: 11 Oct 2012

Sociodemographic Differences in Quality of Life in Rheumatoid Arthritis

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Assessment of health-related quality of life (HR-QOL) in people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) has become important in health research and can inform clinical care. Many studies have found sociodemographic differences in the HR-QOL of people with RA, and interpreting these differences can be challenging. Biological, health disparity, reporting and assessment instrument differences are a few of the possible explanations that should be considered when interpreting results. Our review of the evidence of sociodemographic differences in HR-QOL in people with RA produced 34 articles describing 49 studies.

Typically, patients with RA who were older, female, less educated, non-employed and/or less affluent tended to have significantly lower HR-QOL than other groups. Some evidence also indicated that people with RA who are non-White or who live in rural settings may also tend to have lower HR-QOL scores, but the number of studies supporting these findings was sparse.

Researchers and clinicians can optimise their assessment of HR-QOL by finding well validated instruments for the context they are working in. Additional research is needed to identify the exact causes of HR-QOL differences so that quality treatment can be provided to those in need.