Learned Helplessness Linked to Arthritis Disease Outcomes

Significantly linked to inflammatory polyarthritis outcome; mediates impact of socioeconomic status

MONDAY, Aug. 6 (HealthDay News) -- For patients with inflammatory polyarthritis (IP), learned helplessness (LH) correlates with disease outcomes and seems to mediate the association between socioeconomic status (SES) and disease outcomes, according to a study published in the August issue of Arthritis Care & Research.

Elizabeth M. Camacho, from the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, and associates investigated the cross-sectional relationship between SES and LH and disease outcomes in 553 patients with recent-onset IP, recruited to the Norfolk Arthritis Register. SES was assessed using the Index of Multiple Deprivation 2007; LH was evaluated using the Rheumatology Attitudes Index; and disease outcome was assessed using the Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ) and Disease Activity Score.

The researchers found that patients with the lowest SES had significantly worse outcomes (median difference in HAQ score, 0.42) compared with those with the highest SES. Patients with low LH had a significantly better outcome, and those with high LH had a significantly worse outcome, compared to patients with normal LH. LH likely mediated the correlation between SES and disease outcome (P = 0.04).

"LH is robustly associated with cross-sectional disease outcome in patients with IP, and appears to mediate the relationship between SES and disease outcome," the authors write. "As LH is potentially modifiable, these findings have potential clinical implications."

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