A new study has said that low socioeconomic status (SES) is associated with higher risk of depressive symptoms in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Statistically significant differences in race, public versus tertiary-care hospital, disability and medications were found between depressed and non-depressed patients.
Mary Margaretten, from the Arthritis Research Group at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and lead study author explained, "We assessed the extent to which low SES influences the relationship between disability and depression in order to better identify those patients at higher risk for depression."
Researchers used data obtained from the UCSF RA cohort in which participants were enrolled from an urban county, public hospital that serves the poor and a referral, tertiary-care medical center. The data included 824 visits for 466 patients, 223 from the public hospital and 243 from the tertiary-care clinic.
Analysis showed that 37 pc of participants had moderate to severe depression, scoring 10 or higher on the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9). The mean Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ) score was 1.2 and the disease activity score (DAS28) was 4, indicating fairly high levels of functional impairment and disease activity, respectively.
Dr. Margaretten concluded, "For the same level of disability, patients with low SES may be more likely to experience depression. Detection and documentation of the differing effects of disability on depression between patients of different socioeconomic status can help rheumatologists improve health outcomes by initiating appropriate and timely treatment for depression."
The findings are reported in the February issue of Arthritis Care and Research.