Depression, illness perception and coping in rheumatoid arthritis

Helen Murphy, Chris Dickens, Francis Creed, R. Bernstein

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    This study aimed to establish the relationship between depression, illness perception, coping strategies, and adverse childhood events in rheumatoid arthritis patients. Sixty-two out-patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) completed the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, Illness Perception Questionnaire, London Coping with Rheumatoid Arthritis Questionnaire, and Childhood Development Questionnaire, and underwent a clinical assessment of their physical state. Depressed patients were more disabled than the nondepressed, had a more negative view of their illness, and used more negative coping strategies. There was no association between depression and childhood adversity. Once disability was controlled for, there continued to be a significant correlation between depression and: (i) viewing the consequences of the illness negatively (Spearman's correlation coefficient [r]=0.37, p=0.003); and (ii) the perceived ability to control the illness (r=-0.26, p=0.04). The relationship between depression and negative coping strategies became insignificant. This study indicates the close relationship between depression and a negative view of the illness.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)155-164
    Number of pages9
    JournalJournal of psychosomatic research
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 1999


    • Coping
    • Depression
    • Disability
    • Illness perception
    • Rheumatoid arthritis


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