A description of patient- and rheumatologist-reported depression symptoms in an American rheumatoid arthritis registry population

Student Author(s)

Alan M. Rathbun

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Orthopedics and Physical Rehabilitation; Meyers Primary Care Institute

Publication Date


Document Type



Clinical Epidemiology | Mental and Social Health | Musculoskeletal Diseases | Psychiatric and Mental Health | Rheumatology


OBJECTIVES: Depression is a common and important comorbidity in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The study aim was to describe rates of depressive symptoms and their associations with RA disease activity using measures reported from patients and rheumatologists.

METHODS: The Consortium of Rheumatology Researchers of North America (CORRONA) registry is an observational cohort with data on more than 33,000 RA patients. Using depression symptom measures reported separately by patients and rheumatologists, lifetime prevalence, 12-month prevalence, and annualised incidence rates (IR) were estimated. Additionally, cross-sectional associations between RA disease and a history of depressive symptoms were examined.

RESULTS: Lifetime prevalence estimates of 26.5% and 12.9% were reported by patients and rheumatologists, respectively. The 12-month prevalence rates reported by CORRONA patients and rheumatologists were 11.7% and 1.0%, respectively. The annualised IR from the self-reported depressive symptom measure was approximately 7.8 per 100 patient-years, compared to 0.4 per 100 patient-years reported by their rheumatologists. Increased disease activity at study entry was associated with a higher probability of reporting a history of depressive symptoms.

CONCLUSIONS: RA patients have a high likelihood of experiencing symptoms of depression, while treating rheumatologists under-report them and disease estimates based on their reports were much lower when compared to healthy individuals. Thus, estimates of prevalence and the impact of these symptoms need to be interpreted based on the source of the diagnosis. Collectively, the findings of this study suggest that depressive symptoms are an important comorbidity that practicing rheumatologists should be aware of during clinical encounters.


Clin Exp Rheumatol. 2014 Jul-Aug;32(4):523-32. Epub 2014 Jul 1.

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Clinical and experimental rheumatology

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID