Clinical Rheumatology

, Volume 26, Issue 7, pp 1049–1054 | Cite as

Psychological factors and quality of life in arthritis: a population-based study

  • Catherine L. HillEmail author
  • Tiffany Gill
  • Anne W. Taylor
  • Alison Daly
  • Eleonora Dal Grande
  • Robert J. Adams
Original Article


Previous studies using clinic or convenience samples have indicated that not only patients with arthritis are at increased risk of depression, but there may also be a link between depression and disability in people with arthritis. We examined the prevalence of psychological distress in a population sample with and without arthritis and the association with health-related quality of life. The WANTS Health and Well-being Survey was a population household telephone interview survey of adults (age ≥18 years) in three states of Australia. Data obtained were weighted to provide population-representative estimates. The survey included questions regarding arthritis, SF-12, the Kessler 10 index of psychological distress and presence of mental health conditions. A total of 7,473 interviews providing information on arthritis were completed, with 1,364 (18.3%) reporting arthritis. Self-reported mental health conditions were more frequent in those with arthritis (14.9 vs 12.0%, p = 0.004), and a higher proportion were at a medium or high risk for anxiety or depression (39.0 vs 31.0%, p < 0.001). People with arthritis had significantly lower scores on the SF-12 physical component summaries compared to those without arthritis. Among those with arthritis, those with coexisting psychological distress had significantly lower scores on the SF-12 physical component summary than those without psychological distress. Psychological distress is common among people with arthritis in the community. In arthritis, psychological distress makes a significant additional negative impact on the physical well-being. Physicians need to recognize and address this additional impact on physical functioning in patients with arthritis.


Arthritis Population-based study Psychological distress 



This study was supported by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing, Western Australian Department of Health, Northern Territory Department of Health and Community Services and South Australian Department of Health.


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Copyright information

© Clinical Rheumatology 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Catherine L. Hill
    • 1
    Email author
  • Tiffany Gill
    • 2
  • Anne W. Taylor
    • 2
  • Alison Daly
    • 3
  • Eleonora Dal Grande
    • 2
  • Robert J. Adams
    • 4
  1. 1.Rheumatology UnitThe Queen Elizabeth HospitalWoodvilleAustralia
  2. 2.Population Research and Outcome Studies Unit, Department of HealthAdelaideAustralia
  3. 3.Health Outcomes Assessment Unit, WA Department of HealthPerthAustralia
  4. 4.The Health ObservatoryUniversity of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia

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