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Rheumatology (Oxford). 2000 Sep;39(9):1027-30.

The impact of passive coping on rheumatoid arthritis pain.

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  • 1School of Behavioural and Community Health Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, The University of Sydney, Cumberland Campus, Lidcombe, NSW 1825, Australia.



To determine the ability of coping to predict pain.


Data on 111 rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients (86 women and 25 men) were gathered from a mail survey. Statistical analyses were conducted on a range of clinical and psychological variables: physical disability, disease duration, pain, depression, helplessness, and passive and active coping. Pain was measured with both the pain subscale of the Arthritis Impact Measurement Scales and a visual analogue scale, and coping was measured with the Vanderbilt Pain Management Inventory.


A series of multiple regression analyses revealed that the optimal predictors of pain in RA were physical disability and passive coping, which accounted for 40% of the variance associated with pain. Path analysis revealed that passive coping mediates between the physical disability and pain, and between physical disability and depression.


The results of this study have implications for the overall management of RA. In addition to the medical treatment, the experience of pain and depression in RA should be addressed through an intervention programme designed to enhance coping strategies.

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