EULAR reports low self-management in rheumatology patients with anxiety and depression

Anxiety and depression are the two mental health conditions that are most frequently linked to inflammatory arthritis. It has long been known that there is a connection between mental health conditions and poor health outcomes. However, little is known regarding the relationship between self-management and mental health in patients with inflammatory arthritis. The European Alliance of Associations for Rheumatology (EULAR) recommendations emphasize the necessity to monitor mental health on a frequent basis.

According to results given at EULAR 2023 Congress, patients with anxiety or depression are less likely to demonstrate healthy self-management for their axial spondyloarthritis (axial SpA), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), or psoriatic arthritis (PsA).

Vestergaard and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional study to investigate the relationship between effective self-management techniques and mental health in patients with inflammatory arthritis. The researchers administered a questionnaire to 42,407 patients diagnosed with RA, PA, and PsA. The study found that anxiety was most prevalent among patients with axial SpA, with a frequency of 34.5%. On the other hand, anxiety was least prevalent in RA patients (22.1%). PsA had the highest prevalence of depression at 27.2%, while RA had the lowest incidence of depression at 18.6%.

Several factors were associated with anxiety or depression, including female gender, younger age, diagnosis within three years of the research, and a lack of basic education. According to the press release, patients suffering from anxiety or depression were found to have a higher likelihood of displaying inadequate self-management behavior across all groups and self-management measures, which encompassed treatment adherence, physical activity, and active involvement in their healthcare.

This study demonstrated high levels of anxiety and depression among patients with inflammatory arthritis. It also revealed a strong correlation between low self-management behavior and anxiety and depression. These findings emphasize the importance of systematically identifying and addressing mental health conditions in patients with inflammatory arthritis.


  1. Managing anxiety and depression in arthritis. EULAR Press Release.