Factors associated with anxiety and depression in rheumatoid arthritis patients: a cross-sectional study


Abstract Background: The management of anxiety and depression symptoms in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients is vital. Previous study findings on this topic are conflicting, and the topic remains to be thoroughly investigated. This study aimed to clarify the association of RA disease activity with anxiety and depression symptoms after controlling for physical disability, pain, and medication. Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study of RA patients from the XXX Rheumatoid Arthritis Management Alliance cohort. We assessed patients using the Disease Activity Score (DAS28), Health Assessment Questionnaire Disability Index (HAQ-DI), and Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS). Anxiety and depression symptoms were defined by a HADS score ≥ 8. We analyzed the data using multivariable logistic regression analyses. Results: Of 517 participants, 17.6% had anxiety symptoms and 27.7% had depression symptoms. The multivariable logistic regression analysis demonstrated that DAS28 was not independently associated with anxiety symptoms (odds ratio [OR] [95% confidence interval; CI] 0.93 [0.48–1.78]; p = 0.82) and depression symptoms (OR [95% CI] 1.45 [0.81–2.61]; p = 0.22). However, DAS28 patient global assessment (PtGA) severity was associated with anxiety symptoms (OR [95% CI] 1.15 [1.02–1.29]; p = 0.03) and depression symptoms (OR [95% CI] 1.21 [1.09–1.35]; p < 0.01). Additionally, HAQ-DI scores ≤ 0.5 were associated with anxiety symptoms (OR [95% CI] 3.51 [1.85–6.64]; p < 0.01) and depression symptoms (OR [95% CI] 2.65 [1.56–4.50]; p < 0.01). Patients using steroids were more likely to have depression than those not using steroids (OR [95% CI] 1.66 [1.03–2.67]; p = 0.04). Conclusions: No association was found between RA disease activity and anxiety and depression symptoms in the multivariable logistic regression analysis. Patients with high PtGA scores or HAQ-DI scores ≤ 0.5 were more likely to experience anxiety and depression symptoms, irrespective of disease activity remission status. Rather than focusing solely on controlling disease activity, treatment should focus on improving or preserving physical function and the patient's overall sense of well-being.



Rheumatoid arthritis, Anxiety, Depression, Patient global assessment (PtGA), Quality of life