Arthritis and Depression

Several of our investigators are interested in learning more about mental health and how arthritis plays a role. We are aware that living with chronic pain disorders presents many challenges. However, the connection between mood and chronic pain is not well understood in OA.

We have several projects currently underway:

  1. Depression in People with Arthritis: Prevalence and Predictors
    People with OA typically have a number of risk factors predisposing them to depression, such as chronic pain, functional limitations and sleep difficulties. We are describing the prevalence of depression in community-dwelling elderly individuals with OA. We are examining factors that may predict the occurrence of depression in this group (i.e., age, gender, socioeconomic status, arthritis severity, disability and comorbidities).
  2. Functional Limitations in People with Arthritis: The Impact of Depression and Pain
    It has been noted that individuals reporting chronic pain are more likely to report depressive symptoms and individuals with depressive symptoms have a heightened sense of pain. Depressive symptoms and pain are two factors shown to be associated with disability in OA. There is preliminary evidence that improving the quality of depression care results in reduced pain and functional impairment in patients with osteoarthritis. Using data from the Study of Arthritis in Your Community, we are exploring the impact of pain and depression on functional limitation. We speculate that severe pain and depression will be related to greater disability when they co-occur than when they occur independently.
  3. Clinical Depression in OA
    The prevalence of clinical depression among OA patients has not been determined. We have interviewed people with OA using a depression screening tool, the CES-D, to identify individuals that may be at risk for depression. Our next step will assess those who score highly on the CES-D on an individual basis to determine if they meet the diagnostic criteria for clinical depression. This evaluation will allow us to determine how prevalent depression is in a sample of individuals with arthritis. This study will potentially lead to recommendations for clinical practice in the treatment of the individual living with arthritis.
  • Sale JE, Gignac M, Hawker G. The relationship between disease symptoms, life events, coping and treatment, and depression among older adults with osteoarthritis. J Rheumatology 2008 Feb; 35(2): 335-42.
  • Sale JEM, Hawker GA, Gignac M, Badley EM. What are the factors associated with depressive symptoms in older adults with osteoarthritis? J Rheumatol 2006; 33(2): 373.
  • Sale JEM, Hawker GA, Gignac M, Badley EM. Are depressive symptoms associated with pain after taking into consideration demographics, disability, and contextual variables in older adults with osteoarthritis? J Rheumatol 2006; 33(2): 372.
Last modified: June 13, 2008