Pain and Depressive Symptoms Linked in Arthritis

Previous pain, depression are strongest predictors for change in pain and depression symptoms

MONDAY, Jan. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Among patients with psoriatic arthritis, there is a small bidirectional association between depressive symptoms and pain, but the strongest predictors of change in each symptom are the corresponding previous values, according to a study published online Jan. 9 in Arthritis Care & Research.

Janice A. Husted, Ph.D., from the University of Waterloo in Canada, and colleagues analyzed data from 394 patients attending the University of Toronto psoriatic arthritis clinic who were followed up over a mean period of 7.5 years with annual assessments, including the number of swollen joints (SJC), Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ), and the Medical Outcome Survey Short Form 36 (SF-36). The association between changes in HAQ pain and in the SF-36 mental component score (MCS) was assessed.

The researchers found that, for changes in pain, SJC, and depressive symptoms, the strongest predictors of change between visits were the scores of the corresponding variables at the previous visit (standardized regression coefficients >0.75 in absolute value). There was evidence of a small bidirectional relationship between depressive symptoms and pain (standardized regression coefficients <0.3). Previous MCS scores and the change in MCS scores both correlated with the between-visit change in pain, while previous pain scores and changes in pain scores were correlated with the between-visit change in depressive symptoms.

"Even though cross-variable associations between pain and depressive symptoms exist, changes in pain and depressive symptomatology appear to be strongly driven by their measurements at the previous visit," the authors write.

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