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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Spouse depression and disease course among persons with rheumatoid arthritis Lam, Mark Ming-Wah


Objective. To examine the role of spouse mood in the disability and disease course of persons with Rheumatoid Arthritis (PWRA). Methods. 133 married PWRA completed questionnaires, including the Rheumatoid Arthritis Disease Activity Index and the Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand, assessing PWRA arthritis disease activity and disability, respectively, at two time-points one-year apart. In addition, both PWRA and their spouses completed the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale, a standardized community measure of depression at both time-points. Results. Multiple regression analysis revealed spouse depressive symptoms at initial assessment to be predictive of follow-up PWRA disability and disease activity, even after controlling for initial levels of PWRA depression, disability, disease activity, age, number of years married, education, disease duration, and employment. More specifically, higher levels of spouse depression predicted worse disease course over a one-year period for PWRA, as indicated by higher reports of subsequent PWRA disability and disease activity. Conclusion. Our findings highlight the key role played by the spouse in PWRA disease course, and point to the importance of including the spouse in clinical interventions. Implications for theory, research, and treatment are discussed, with a focus on examining pathways through which spouse depressive symptoms may affect PWRA disease course and disability.

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