Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic and progressive autoimmune disorder with symptoms sometimes including chronic pain and depression. The current study aimed to explore some of the psychological variables which predict both pain-related outcomes (pain severity and pain interference) and psychological outcomes (depression and anxiety) amongst patients with rheumatoid arthritis experiencing chronic pain. In particular, this study aimed to establish whether either self-concealment, or the satisfaction of basic psychological needs (autonomy, relatedness, and competence), could explain a significant portion of the variance in pain outcomes and psychological outcomes amongst this patient group.
Online questionnaires were completed by 317 rheumatoid arthritis patients with chronic pain, providing data across a number of predictor and outcome variables.
Hierarchical multiple linear regressions indicated that the predictive models for each of the four outcome variables were significant, and had good levels of fit with the data. In terms of individual predictor variables, higher relatedness significantly predicted lower depression, and higher autonomy significantly predicted lower anxiety.
The model generated by this study may identify factors to be targeted by future interventions with the goal of reducing depression and anxiety amongst patients with rheumatoid arthritis experiencing chronic pain. The findings of this study have shown that the autonomy and the relatedness of patients with rheumatoid arthritis play important roles in promoting psychological well-being. Targeted interventions could help to enhance the lives of patients despite the presence of chronic pain.