The Influence of Perceived Stress on the Onset of Arthritis in Women: Findings from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health

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BackgroundPsychosocial factors are considered as risk factors for some chronic diseases. A paucity of research exists surrounding the role of perceived stress in arthritis onset.PurposePerceived stress as a risk factor for arthritis development was explored in an ageing cohort of Australian women.MethodsThis study focused on 12,202 women from the 1946-1951 cohort who completed the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health surveys in 2001, 2004 and 2007. Longitudinal associations were modelled, with and without a time lag.ResultsFindings from the multivariate time lag modelling, excluding women with persistent joint pain, revealed that perceived stress predicted the onset of arthritis, with women experiencing minimal and moderate/high stress levels having a 1.7 and 2.4 times greater odds of developing arthritis 3 years later, respectively (p's < 0.001).ConclusionChronically perceiving life as stressful is detrimental to future health. The findings provide support for perceived stress to be considered alongside other modifiable risk factors.

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