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Br J Rheumatol. 1998 Sep;37(9):985-7.

Comparison of clinical and self-reported diagnoses for participants on a community-based arthritis self-management programme.

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  • 1Psychosocial Rheumatology Research Centre, School of Health & Social Sciences, Coventry University.



With the advent of community-based arthritis education programmes, it is important to determine the accuracy of participants' self-reported diagnoses. The purpose of this study was to determine the level of agreement between general practitioner (GP)-recorded and self-reported diagnoses of participants attending an Arthritis Self-Management Programme (ASMP).


Participants enrolling on the ASMP were asked to (a) identify their type of arthritis via a self-administered postal questionnaire and (b) obtain a written confirmation of their diagnosis from their GP. The sample (n = 613) comprised mainly women (83%) with a mean age of 58.8 yr (S.D. 12.6) and a mean disease duration of 15.4 yr (S.D. 12.5).


Participants' self-reported diagnoses were confirmed by GPs in 534 cases [87.1%, 95% confidence interval (CI): 84.4 89.8%]. Confirmed diagnoses were reported by 86.9% (95% CI: 83.1-90.7%) of those with osteoarthritis (OA) and 96.1% (95% CI: 93.6 98.6%) of those with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The concordance rate for all other types of arthritis combined was lower at 60.5% (95% CI: 49.5-71.5%). There were no significant differences with respect to age, gender, education, physical functioning, duration of disease and number of GP visits between those who correctly identified their type of arthritis and those who did not.


This study suggests that the majority of RA and OA participants attending an arthritis education programme can correctly identify their specific type of arthritis.

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