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Association Between Measures of Fatigue and Health-Related Quality of Life in Rheumatoid Arthritis and Osteoarthritis


Objective: To assess the relationship between fatigue and health-related quality of life (HR-QOL) among people with osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Methods: Community-dwelling people with OA, and OA patients on the waiting list for joint replacement surgery, were recruited. RA patients were recruited from rheumatologists’ public and private outpatient clinics. Respondents completed a questionnaire containing demographic detail, the Fatigue Severity Scale (FSS), the Multidimensional Assessment of Fatigue (MAF), the SF-36, Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index, and the Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ).

Results: There were 137 OA and 52 RA respondents. Neither age nor sex was significantly associated with fatigue for OA or RA. The mean FSS score was 3.36 for RA and 3.63 for OA. Fifty percent of respondents with RA and 58% of those with OA met the FSS >3 cut-point for fatigue. Mean MAF Global Fatigue Index was 20.8 for OA and 20.1 for RA. Correlations between health status and fatigue indicated that for both OA and RA those with greater fatigue reported worse health status.

Conclusions: Few studies have measured the impact of fatigue among respondents with OA, despite it affecting a large proportion of the population. Fatigue was significantly correlated with poorer HR-QOL among OA respondents, suggesting that fatigue is a significant issue in OA as well as RA.

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Funding for this study was obtained from the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council and The Lincoln Centre. The authors have no conflicts of interest directly relevant to the content of this study.

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Correspondence to Marita Cross.

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Cross, M., Lapsley, H., Barcenilla, A. et al. Association Between Measures of Fatigue and Health-Related Quality of Life in Rheumatoid Arthritis and Osteoarthritis. Patient-Patient-Centered-Outcome-Res 1, 97–104 (2008).

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  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis Patient
  • Health Assessment Questionnaire
  • Fatigue Severity Scale
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis Group