Caregiving appraisal and disease activity in early inflammatory arthritis

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Caregiving appraisal and disease activity in early inflammatory arthritis


The caregiving process accompanying inflammatory arthritis can be stressful to both caregivers and care recipients. In this study, we examined how caregiving involvement and caregiving appraisal as perceived by both patients and their caregiving spouses relate to disease activity and mental health of patients in early inflammatory arthritis.


Patients in the early phase (> 6 weeks, <18 months duration) of inflammatory arthritis were recruited from a larger early inflammatory arthritis registry, which recorded sociodemographic data and disease characteristics. Disease activity was measured with the Disease Activity Score in 28 joints (DAS28). Current depressive symptoms were measured using the Center for Epidemiologic Studies – Depression Mood Scale. Patient and spouse perceived caregiving involvement and caregiving appraisal were assessed using the Caregiving Involvement Questionnaire and Caregiving Appraisal Scale, respectively.


The study sample consisted of 73 patients living with spouse. Mean age was 54 years, 64.4% were women and mean illness duration was 7.48 months. Patients' positive caregiving appraisal was associated with less disease activity (DAS28) (p = 0.003) and less total depressive mood (p < 0.001). In multivariate analysis, patients' appraisal of the caregiving context was negatively associated with disease activity (DAS28) after controlling for caregiving involvement and depression (p = 0.035).


This study indicates that, in early inflammatory arthritis, patients' caregiving appraisal might be important to consider when assessing disease activity. Clinicians are encouraged to include both patients and their spouse caregivers in interventions.

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