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Behav Res Ther. 1998 Feb;36(2):179-93.

Psychosocial predictors of functional change in recently diagnosed rheumatoid arthritis patients.

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Department of Medical Psychology, University of Nijmegen, The Netherlands.


In order to examine the influence of active and passive pain-coping strategies and social support characteristics on the change in functional status in the first stage of the disease in rheumatoid arthritis patients, self-report data and clinical and laboratory measures were collected from 91 patients (70% female, mean age 57 yr) shortly after diagnosis and 1 yr later. Multiple regression analyses indicated that, after taking the influence of demographic variables, disease activity and pain into account, a decrease in functional status (mobility, self-care, grip strength) after 1 yr could be predicted by an initially more frequent use of the passive pain-coping strategies of worrying and resting. A decrease in mobility could be additionally predicted by an initially smaller social network. Results indicate the impact of passive pain-coping strategies and social network characteristics for the prognosis of functional outcome in the first stage of the disease and suggest the early manifestation of avoidance mechanisms, including behavioral, cognitive-emotional and social components, in face of a chronic stressor.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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