, Volume 24, Issue 2, pp 109–121 | Cite as

Sociodemographic Differences in Quality of Life in Rheumatoid Arthritis

  • Erik J. Groessl
  • Theodore G. Ganiats
  • Andrew J. Sarkin
Leading Article


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.



Dr Groessl is supported by a Department of Veteran Affairs Health Services Research and Development Merit Review Entry Program Award.

No sources of funding were used to assist in the preparation of this article. The authors have no conflicts of interest that are directly relevant to the content of this article.


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Copyright information

© Adis Data Information BV 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Erik J. Groessl
    • 1
    • 2
  • Theodore G. Ganiats
    • 2
  • Andrew J. Sarkin
    • 2
  1. 1.Health Services Research & DevelopmentVeterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare SystemSan DiegoUSA
  2. 2.University of CaliforniaSan DiegoUSA

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