Patient preferences for psychological support in inflammatory arthritis: a multicentre survey

Emma Dures, Celia Almeida, Judy Caesley, Alice Peterson, Nicholas Ambler, Marianne Morris, Jon Pollock, Sarah Hewlett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVES: Inflammatory arthritis (IA) can lead to anxiety, depression, pain and fatigue. Psychological support can improve quality of life and self-management; and European and American guidelines recommend support be offered. This study examined patient views on psychological support for their IA.

METHODS: A questionnaire designed by researchers, patient partners and clinicians was administered to 2280 patients with IA.

RESULTS: 1210 patients responded (53%): 74% women; mean age 59 years (SD 12.7); patient global 5 (2.3); disease duration <5 years (41%), 5-10 (20%), >10 (39%). Only 23% reported routinely being asked about social and emotional issues by a rheumatology professional, but 46% would like the opportunity to discuss psychological impact. If offered, 66% of patients reported they would use a self-management/coping clinic (63% pain management, 60% occupational therapy, 48% peer support groups, 46% patient education, 46% psychology/counselling). Patients want support with managing the impact of pain and fatigue (82%), managing emotions (57%), work and leisure (52%), relationships (37%) and depression (34%). Preferences are for support to be delivered by the rheumatology team (nurse 74%, doctor 55%) and general practitioners (GPs) (51%). Only 6% of patients stated that social and emotional issues were not relevant.

CONCLUSIONS: Demand for psychological support is high; however, less than a quarter of patients reported being asked about social and emotional issues, suggesting a gap between needs and provision. The preference is for delivery from rheumatology clinicians and GPs, and research should establish whether they have the skills and resources to meet patients' needs.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAnnals of the Rheumatic Diseases
Publication statusPublished - 26 Sept 2014

Bibliographical note

Published by the BMJ Publishing Group Limited. For permission to use (where not already granted under a licence) please go to


Dive into the research topics of 'Patient preferences for psychological support in inflammatory arthritis: a multicentre survey'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this