Volume 33, Issue 4, December 2022

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Mediterr J Rheumatol 2022;33(4):394-406
Anxiety, Distress, and Depression in Elderly Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients
Authors Information

1Rheumatologist, Private Practice, Patras, Greece               

2Adjunct Lecturer, School of Social Sciences, Hellenic Open University, Patras, Greece

3Rheumatologist, Private Practice, Aigion, Greece

4Rheumatologist, Private Practice, Arta, Greece

5Rheumatologist, Private Practice, Patras, Greece

6Trainee in Rheumatology, University Hospital Patras, Greece

7Professor of Rheumatology, Department of Rheumatology, School of Health

Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ioannina, Greece

D Karokis, D Karamanis, S Xesfingi


Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and affective disorders (anxiety/depression) constitute important pathologies in the elderly population, and their coexistence creates synergistically increased problems in functional ability and quality of life of the patients. Purpose: Evaluation of anxiety, distress, and depression in elderly (≥65 years old) patients with RA. Patients – methods: 114 patients from the cities of Patras, Arta and Ioannina (all located in Western Greece) were included. Demographics and medical information regarding RA were recorded, including disease duration, medication, previous treatments, disease activity measures, comorbidities etc. Patients answered the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI), General Health Questionnaire–28 (GHQ28) and Health Assessment Questionnaire -Disability Index (HAQ-DI) questionnaires, for evaluation of anxiety, general health and functional ability, respectively. Statistical analysis was made by using STATA. Results: 88 women (78.07%) and 25 men (21.93%) with median age 70 years and median disease duration 10 years were studied. Female patients, with longer disease duration and higher disease activity, had statistically significant higher levels of anxiety, worse general health and decreased functional ability. A strongly significant association was found between the levels of anxiety and distress, with disease activity and functional inability. Conclusions: Levels of anxiety and distress are strongly associated with disease activity and functional inability in elderly patients with RA. Women with longer disease have higher levels of anxiety and distress. Controlling disease activity is of upmost importance for improvement of anxiety and distress and functional ability. Larger studies are needed for evaluation of anxiety and distress in elderly patients with RA.

Cite this article as: Karokis D, Karamanis D, Xesfingi S, Antonopoulos I, Politi E, Bounas A, Lykoura C, Voulgari P. Anxiety, Distress, and Depression in Elderly Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients. Mediterr J Rheumatol 2022;33(4):394-406.

Article Submitted: 31 Mar 2022; Revised Form: 22 Jun 2022; Article Accepted: 4 Jul 2022; Available Online: 31 Dec 2022


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©2022 The Author(s).