To examine the independent and combined influence of individual and community-level socioeconomic (SES) measures with physical health status outcomes in people with self-reported arthritis.
From 2004-2005, 968 participants completed a telephone survey assessing health status, chronic conditions, community characteristics, and socio-demographic variables. Individual-level SES measures: homeownership, occupation [professional, or not], educational attainment (< high school (HS), HS degree, and > HS), income (<15, 15-45, >$45K) and community poverty: 2000 U.S. Census block-group “% of individuals living below the poverty line” (low, medium, high) were used. Outcomes were physical functioning (MOS SF-12v2 PCS), functional disability (HAQ) and the CDC HRQOL Healthy Days physical and limited activity days and were analyzed via multivariable regressions.
When entered separately, all individual-level SES variables were significantly (p<0.01) associated with poorer PCS, HAQ, and CDC HRQOL scores. A higher magnitude of effect was seen for household income, specifically <$15,000 in final models with all 4 individual SES measures and community poverty. The magnitude of effect for education is reduced and marginally significant for PCS and number of physically unhealthy days. No effects were seen for occupation, homeownership, and community poverty.
Findings confirm that after adjusting for important covariates, lower individual and community-level SES are associated with poorer physical health outcomes, while household income is the strongest predictor (as measured by both significance and effect) of poorer health status in final models. Studies not having participant-reported income available should make use of other SES measures as they do independently predict physical health.
Socioeconomic Status; Health Status
Background and Purpose. The purpose of this study is to determine whether higher baseline levels of (a) self-efficacy for physical activity, (b) self-efficacy for arthritis self-management, and (c) outcome expectations for exercise are associated with higher physical activity levels following an exercise intervention for adults with arthritis. Methods. A secondary analysis of the intervention cohort (n = 130) within a randomized controlled trial of the People with Arthritis Can Exercise program was performed. Multiple linear regression evaluated the relationship between physical activity at a time point three months after the completion of an exercise intervention and three main explanatory variables. Results. After controlling for baseline physical activity, neither self-efficacy for arthritis self-management nor outcome expectations for exercise related to three-month physical activity levels. There was a relationship between three-month physical activity and self-efficacy for physical activity. Conclusions. Future research is needed to evaluate the ability of self-efficacy-enhancing programs to increase physical activity in adults with arthritis.
To examine the association between four aspects of the perceived neighborhood environment (aesthetics, walkability, safety, and social cohesion) and health status outcomes in a cohort of North Carolinians with self-report arthritis, after adjustment for individual and neighborhood SES covariates.
696 participants self-reported one or more types of arthritis or rheumatic condition in a telephone survey. Outcomes measured were physical and mental functioning (MOS SF-12v2 PCS and MCS); functional disability (HAQ); depressive symptomatology (CES-D scored <16; ≥16). Multivariate regression and multivariate logistic regression analyses were conducted using STATA v11.
Results from separate adjusted models indicate that measures of associations for perceived neighborhood characteristics are statistically significant (p≤0.001 to p=0.017) for each health status outcome (except walkability and MCS) after adjusting for covariates. Final adjusted models included all four perceived neighborhood characteristics simultaneously. A one point increase in perceiving worse neighborhood aesthetics predicted lower mental health (B= −1.81, p=0.034). Individuals had increased odds of depressive symptoms if they perceived lower neighborhood safety (OR: 1.36; CI: 1.04, 1.78, p=0.023) and if they perceived lower neighborhood social cohesion (OR 1.42; CI: 1.03, 1.96, p=0.030).
Study findings indicate that an individual’s perception of neighborhood environment characteristics, especially aesthetics, safety and social cohesion, is predictive of health outcomes among adults with self-report arthritis, even after adjusting for key variables. Future studies interested in examining the role that community characteristics play on disability and mental health in individuals with arthritis might consider further examination of perceived neighborhood.
To determine whether shared epitope (SE)–containing HLA–DRB1 alleles are associated with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in African Americans and whether their presence is associated with higher degrees of global (genome-wide) genetic admixture from the European population.
In this multicenter cohort study, African Americans with early RA and matched control subjects were analyzed. In addition to measurement of serum anti–cyclic citrullinated peptide (anti-CCP) antibodies and HLA–DRB1 genotyping, a panel of >1,200 ancestry-informative markers was analyzed in patients with RA and control subjects, to estimate the proportion of European ancestry.
The frequency of SE-containing HLA–DRB1 alleles was 25.2% in African American patients with RA versus 13.6% in control subjects (P = 0.00005). Of 321 patients with RA, 42.1% had at least 1 SE-containing allele, compared with 25.3% of 166 control subjects (P = 0.0004). The mean estimated percent European ancestry was associated with SE-containing HLA–DRB1 alleles in African Americans, regardless of disease status (RA or control). As reported in RA patients of European ancestry, there was a significant association of the SE with the presence of the anti-CCP antibody: 86 (48.9%) of 176 patients with anti-CCP antibody–positive RA had at least 1 SE allele, compared with 36 (32.7%) of 110 patients with anti-CCP antibody–negative RA (P = 0.01, by chi-square test).
HLA–DRB1 alleles containing the SE are strongly associated with susceptibility to RA in African Americans. The absolute contribution is less than that reported in RA among populations of European ancestry, in which ~50–70% of patients have at least 1 SE allele. As in Europeans with RA, the SE association was strongest in the subset of African American patients with anti-CCP antibodies. The finding of a higher degree of European ancestry among African Americans with SE alleles suggests that a genetic risk factor for RA was introduced into the African American population through admixture, thus making these individuals more susceptible to subsequent environmental or unknown factors that trigger the disease.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is one of the most frequently occurring musculoskeletal diseases, posing a significant public health problem due to its impact on pain and disability. Traditional risk factors fail to account for all of the risk observed for OA outcomes. In recent years, our view of disease causation has broadened to include health risks that are created by an individual’s socioeconomic circumstances. Early research into social determinants has focused on social position and explored factors related to the individual such as education, income and occupation. Results from these investigations suggest that low education attainment and nonprofessional occupation are associated with poorer arthritis outcomes. More recently, research has expanded to examine how one’s neighborhood socioeconomic environment may be relevant to OA outcomes. This narrative review proposes a framework to help guide our understanding of how social context may interact with pathophysiological processes and individual-level variables to influence health outcomes in those living with OA.
osteoarthritis; sociall determinant; socioeconomic status
To examine whether polymorphisms in genes coding for drug metabolizing enzymes (DMEs) impact rheumatoid arthritis (RA) risk due to cigarette smoking in African Americans.
Smoking status was evaluated in African American RA cases and non-RA controls categorized as heavy (≥ 10 pack-years) vs. other. Individuals were genotyped for a homozygous deletion polymorphism in glutathione S-transferase Mu-1 (GSTM1-null) in addition to tagging single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in N-acetyltransferase (NAT)1, NAT2, and epoxide hydrolase (EPXH1). Associations of genotypes with RA were examined using logistic regression and gene-smoking interactions were assessed.
There were no significant associations of any DME genotype with RA. After adjustment for multiple comparisons, there were significant additive interactions between heavy smoking and NAT2 SNPs rs9987109 (Padd = 0.000003) and rs1208 (Padd = 0.00001); attributable proportions (APs) due to interaction ranged from 0.61 to 0.67. None of the multiplicative gene-smoking interactions examined remained significant after adjustment for multiple testing in overall disease risk. There was no evidence of significant gene-smoking interactions in analyses of GSTM1-null, NAT1, or EPXH1. DME gene-smoking interactions were similar when cases were limited to anti-citrullinated protein antibody (ACPA) positive individuals.
Among African Americans, RA risk imposed by heavy smoking appears to be mediated in part by genetic variation in NAT2. While further studies are needed to elucidate mechanisms underpinning these interactions, these SNPs appear to identify African American smokers at a much higher risk for RA with relative risks that are at least two-fold higher compared to non-smokers lacking these risk alleles.
rheumatoid arthritis; African Americans; cigarette smoking; anti-CCP antibody; drug metabolizing enzyme; N-acetyltransferase; epoxide hydrolase; glutathione S-transferase
Community resources can influence health outcomes, yet little research has examined how older individuals use community resources for osteoarthritis (OA) management. Six focus groups were conducted with 37 community-dwelling older adult African Americans and Caucasians who self-reported OA and resided in Johnston County, North Carolina. Descriptive analyses and qualitative constant comparison methodology revealed individuals use local recreational facilities, senior centers, shopping centers, religious organizations, medical providers, pharmacies and their social network for OA management. Participants also identified environmental characteristics (e.g., sidewalk conditions, curb-cuts, handicapped parking, automatic doors) that both facilitated and hindered use of community resources for OA management. Identified resources and environmental characteristics were organized around Corbin & Strauss framework tasks: medical/behavioral, role, and emotional management. As older Americans live with multiple chronic diseases, better understanding of what community resources are used for disease management may help improve the health of community-dwelling adults, both with and without OA.
osteoarthritis; self-management; community resources; built environment; focus groups
Large-scale genetic association studies have identified over 20 rheumatoid arthritis (RA) risk alleles among individuals of European ancestry. The influence of these risk alleles has not been comprehensively studied in African-Americans. We therefore sought to examine whether these validated RA risk alleles are associated with RA in an African-American population.
27 candidate SNPs were genotyped in 556 autoantibody-positive African-Americans with RA and 791 healthy African-American controls. Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for each SNP were compared to previously published ORs of RA patients of European ancestry. We then calculated a composite Genetic Risk Score (GRS) for each individual based on the sum of all risk alleles.
There was overlap in the OR and 95% CI between the European and African-American populations in 24 of the 27 candidate SNPs. Conversely, 3 of the 27 SNPs (CCR6 rs3093023, TAGAP rs394581, TNFAIP3 rs6920220) demonstrated an OR in the opposite direction from those reported in RA patients of European ancestry. The GRS analysis indicated a small but highly significant probability that African-American cases were enriched for the European RA risk alleles relative to controls (p=0.00005).
The majority of RA risk alleles previously validated among European ancestry RA patients showed similar ORs in our population of African-Americans with RA. Furthermore, the aggregate GRS supports the hypothesis that these SNPs are risk alleles for RA in the African-American population. Future large-scale genetic studies are needed to validate these risk alleles and identify novel risk alleles for RA in African-Americans.
To examine the associations of cigarette smoking with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in African Americans and to determine to whether this association is impacted by HLA-DRB1 shared epitope (SE).
Smoking status, cumulative smoking exposure, and SE status were measured in African American patients with RA and in healthy controls. Associations of smoking with RA were examined using age- and gender-adjusted logistic regression. Additive and multiplicative SE-smoking interactions were examined.
After adjusting for age and gender, ever (OR = 1.45; 95% CI 1.07 to 1.97) and current smoking (OR = 1.56; 95% CI 1.07 to 2.26) were more common in African American RA cases (n = 605) than in controls (n = 255). The association of smoking with RA was limited to those with a cumulative exposure exceeding 10 pack-years, associations that were evident in both autoantibody positive and negative disease. There was evidence of a significant additive interaction between SE status and heavy smoking (≥ 10 pack-years) in RA risk (attributable proportion due to interaction [AP] of 0.58, p = 0.007) with an AP of 0.47 (p = 0.006) between SE status and ever smoking. There was no evidence of multiplicative interactions.
Among African Americans, cigarette smoking is associated not only with the risk of autoantibody positive RA but also with the risk of autoantibody negative disease. RA risk attributable to smoking is limited to African Americans with more than 10 pack-years of exposure and is more pronounced among individuals positive for HLA-DRB1 SE.
rheumatoid arthritis; African Americans; cigarette smoking; rheumatoid factor; anti-CCP antibody; HLA-DRB1 shared epitope
The purpose of this study was to examine data from the Johnston County Osteoarthritis (OA) Project for independent associations of educational attainment, occupation and community poverty with tibiofemoral knee OA.
A cross-sectional analysis was conducted on 3,591 individuals (66% Caucasian and 34% African American). Educational attainment (< 12 years or ≥12 years), occupation (non-managerial or not), and Census block group household poverty rate (< 12%, 12 to 25%, > 25%) were examined separately and together in logistic models adjusting for covariates of age, gender, race, body mass index (BMI), smoking, knee injury and occupational activity score. Outcomes were presence of radiographic knee OA (rOA), symptomatic knee OA (sxOA), bilateral rOA and bilateral sxOA.
When all three socioeconomic status (SES) variables were analyzed simultaneously, low educational attainment was significantly associated with rOA (odds ratio (OR) = 1.44, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.20, 1.73), bilateral rOA (OR = 1.43, 95% CI 1.13, 1.81), and sxOA (OR = 1.66, 95% CI 1.34, 2.06), after adjusting for covariates. Independently, living in a community of high household poverty rate was associated with rOA (OR = 1.83, 95% CI 1.43, 2.36), bilateral rOA (OR = 1.56, 95% CI 1.12, 2.16), and sxOA (OR = 1.36, 95% CI 1.00, 1.83). Occupation had no significant independent association beyond educational attainment and community poverty.
Both educational attainment and community SES were independently associated with knee OA after adjusting for primary risk factors for knee OA.
knee osteoarthritis; educational attainment; occupation; community poverty; socioeconomic status
To examine the association between baseline bone mineral density (BMD) and radiographic damage at 3-year disease duration in a longitudinal cohort of African Americans (AAs) with recent-onset RA.
Participants (n=141) included AAs with < 2 years of disease duration. All patients underwent baseline BMD measurement (femoral neck and/or lumbar spine) using DXA. T-scores were calculated using AAs normative data. Patients were categorized as having osteopenia/osteoporosis (T score ≤ −1) or healthy. Hand/wrist radiographs, obtained at baseline and at 3-year disease duration, were scored using modified Sharp/van der Heijde method. The association between baseline BMD and total radiographic score at 3-year disease duration was examined using multivariable negative binomial regression.
At baseline, the mean age and disease duration were 52.4 years and 14.8 months respectively (85.1% women). Average total radiographic scores at baseline and 3-year disease duration were 2.4 and 5.7. In the final reduced multivariable model adjusting for age, gender, anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide antibody positivity, and the presence of radiographic damage at baseline, the total radiographic score at 3-years of disease duration in patients with osteopenia/osteoporosis at the femoral neck was twice that in patients with healthy bone density and the difference was statistically significant (p=0.0084). No association between lumbar spine osteopenia/osteoporosis and radiographic score was found.
These findings suggest that reduced generalized BMD may be a predictor of future radiographic damage and support the hypothesis that radiographic damage and reduced generalized BMD in RA patients may share a common pathogenic mechanism.
To examine the prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency and the associations of vitamin D concentration with disease status in African Americans with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Study participants (n = 266) were enrolled in the Consortium for the Longitudinal Evaluation of African Americans with Early RA (CLEAR) Registry. 25(OH)-D was measured on baseline plasma and associations of 25(OH)-D with disease status (baseline and at 3 years disease duration) were examined using univariate and multivariate regression.
The prevalence of 25(OH)-D insufficiency (≤ 37.5 nmol/L or 15 ng/ml) was 50%, with the highest prevalence in winter. In unadjusted analyses, vitamin D concentrations were inversely associated with baseline pain (p = 0.04), swollen joints (p = 0.04), and Disease Activity Score (DAS-28, p = 0.05) but not with measures at 3 years disease duration. There were no multivariate associations of 25(OH)-D with any disease measures at baseline or at 3 years with the exception of a positive borderline association with rheumatoid factor positivity at enrollment (p = 0.05).
Vitamin D insufficiency is common in African Americans with recent-onset RA. Unadjusted associations of circulating vitamin D with baseline pain, swollen joints, and DAS-28 were explained by differences in season, age, and gender and were not significant in multivariate analyses. In contrast to reports of Northern Europeans with early inflammatory arthritis, there are not strong associations of 25(OH)-D concentration with symptoms or disease severity in African Americans with RA.
rheumatoid arthritis; vitamin D; African American; disease activity; severity
Previous research suggests that insufficient access to health care may contribute to health disparities in arthritis-related outcomes. The purpose of this article is to document whether racial disparities in health status, health-related quality of life (HRQOL), and activity limitations exist for individuals living with arthritis who have access to a primary care physician.
Cross-sectional survey data were collected in 2005 and 2008 from individuals seeking care at 11 family practice clinics in North Carolina. Participants self-reported their arthritis status, health status, physical and mental HRQOL, and activity limitations. Analysis of variance was used to determine whether there were differences in demographic and clinical characteristics of White (n= 405), Black (n = 244), and Latino (n = 100) participants who self-reported arthritis. Linear regressions determined whether race/ethnicity was significantly associated with HRQOL and activity limitations; whereas, logistic regression determined whether the odds of poor health were higher for Black and Latino participants, controlling for age, gender, body mass index, marital status, and number of comorbid conditions.
Over 50% of participants reported fair/poor health status and more than 8 days of poor physical and mental health and 6 days of activity limitations during the past month. Latino participants were more likely to report fair/poor health status and fewer activity limitations than Whites or Blacks, whereas Black participants reported fewer days of poor mental health.
Despite access to a primary care physician, racial/ethnic disparities exist. Future research should explore the underlying reasons for the persistence of these disparities.
Arthritis; quality of life; activity limitations; racial disparities.
To examine associations between disability and socioeconomic status (SES) in persons with hip radiographic OA (rOA) or symptomatic OA (sxOA) in the Johnston County Osteoarthritis Project.
Cross-sectional analyses were conducted on individuals with hip rOA (708) or sxOA (251). rOA was defined as Kellgren-Lawrence ≥ 2. Educational attainment (<12 years or ≥12 years) and occupation (managerial or non-managerial) were individual SES measures. Census block group poverty rate (<12%, 12-25%, ≥25%) was the community SES measure. Disability was measured by the HAQ-DI and the WOMAC (function, pain, total). Covariates included age, gender, race, BMI, and presence of knee symptoms. Analyses examined associations of disability with each SES effect separately, followed by multivariable analyses using all SES variables, adjusting for covariates.
In models with single SES variables adjusted for covariates, WOMAC scores were associated significantly (p<0.05) with low educational attainment and non-managerial occupation in rOA and sxOA. HAQ was significantly associated with low educational attainment in rOA and sxOA and with high community poverty in rOA. In models including all SES variables, the patterns of association were similar although with diminished significance. There was indication that education was more strongly associated with HAQ and WOMAC function, while occupation was more strongly associated with WOMAC pain.
Our data provide evidence that individual SES is an important factor to consider when examining disability and pain outcomes in older adults with hip OA.
Disability; hip osteoarthritis; socioeconomic status; educational attainment; occupation; community poverty; pain.
The measurement of pain behavior is a key component of the assessment of persons with chronic pain; however few self-reported pain behavior instruments have been developed. We developed a pain behavior item bank as part of the Patient Reported Outcome Measurement Information System (PROMIS). For the Wave I testing, because of the large number of PROMIS items, a complex sampling approach was used where participants were randomly assigned to either respond to two full item banks or to multiple 7-item blocks of items. A web-based survey was designed and completed by 15,528 members of the general population and 967 individuals with different types of chronic pain. Item response theory (IRT) analysis models were used to evaluate item characteristics and to scale both items and individuals on the pain behavior domain. The pain behavior item bank demonstrated good fit to a unidimensional model (Comparative Fit Index = 0.94). Several iterations of IRT analyses resulted in a final 39 item pain behavior bank, and different IRT models were fit to the total sample and to those participants who experienced some pain. The results indicated that these items demonstrated good coverage of the pain behavior construct. Pain behavior scores were strongly related to pain intensity and moderately related to self-reported general health status. Mean pain behavior scores varied significantly by groups based on pain severity and general health status. The PROMIS pain behavior item bank can be used to develop static short-form and dynamic measures of pain behavior for clinical studies.
Pain behavior; item response theory analysis; patient reported outcomes; psychometric analysis; chronic pain; item banks
Using item response theory (IRT), we examined the Rheumatoid Arthritis Self-efficacy scale (RASE) collected from a People with Arthritis Can Exercise RCT (346 participants) and 2 subscales of the Arthritis Self-efficacy scale (ASE) collected from an Active Living Every Day (ALED) RCT (354 participants) to determine which one better identifies low arthritis self-efficacy in community-based adults with arthritis. The item parameters were estimated in Multilog using the graded response model. The 2 ASE subscales are adequately explained by one factor. There was evidence for 2 locally dependent item pairs; two items from these pairs were removed when we reran the model. The exploratory factor analysis results for RASE showed a multifactor solution which led to a 9-factor solution. In order to perform IRT analysis, one item from each of the 9 subfactors was selected. Both scales were effective at measuring a range of arthritis SE.
Applying a cross-sectional analysis to a sample of 2,627 African-American and Caucasian adults aged ≥ 45 years from the Johnston County Osteoarthritis Project, we studied the association between educational attainment and prevalence of radiographic knee osteoarthritis and symptomatic knee osteoarthritis.
Age- and race-adjusted associations between education and osteoarthritis outcomes were assessed by gender-stratified logistic regression models, with additional models adjusting for body mass index, knee injury, smoking, alcohol use, and occupational factors.
In an analysis of all participants, low educational attainment (<12 years) was associated with higher prevalence of four knee osteoarthritis outcomes (unilateral and bilateral radiographic and symptomatic osteoarthritis). Women with low educational attainment had 50% higher odds of having radiographic knee osteoarthritis and 65% higher odds of symptomatic knee osteoarthritis compared with those with higher educational attainment (≥ 12 years), by using fully adjusted models. In the subset of postmenopausal women, these associations tended to be weaker but little affected by adjustment for hormone replacement therapy. Men with low educational attainment had 85% higher odds of having symptomatic knee osteoarthritis by using fully adjusted models, but the association with radiographic knee osteoarthritis was explained by age.
After adjustment for known risk factors, educational attainment, as an indicator of socioeconomic status, is associated with symptomatic knee osteoarthritis in both men and women and with radiographic knee osteoarthritis in women.
To examine the association of smoking with clinical and serologic features in African Americans with recent-onset rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and to explore whether this association is dependent on the presence of the HLA-DRB1 shared epitope (SE).
In African Americans with recent-onset RA (n = 300), we examined the association of cigarette smoking (current vs. past vs. never and pack-years of exposure) with anti-CCP antibody, rheumatoid factor (RF) (-IgM and -IgA), rheumatoid nodules, and baseline radiographic erosions using logistic and cumulative logistic regression (adjusting for SE status). We also examined for evidence of interaction between smoking status and SE for all outcomes.
Although there was no association with RF-IgA seropositivity, current smokers were approximately twice as likely as never smokers to have higher IgA-RF concentrations (based on tertiles; OR = 1.74; 95% CI 1.05–2.88) and nodules (OR = 2.43; 95% CI 1.13–5.22). These associations were most pronounced in those with more than 20 pack-years of exposure. There was no association of smoking status or cumulative tobacco exposure with anti-CCP antibody, IgM-RF, or radiographic erosions. There was also no evidence of a biologic or statistical SE-smoking interaction for any of the outcomes examined.
This is the first study to systematically examine the association of cigarette smoking with RA-related features in African Americans. Cigarette smoking is associated with both subcutaneous nodules and higher serum concentrations of IgA-RF in African Americans with RA, associations that may have important implications for long-term outcomes in this population.
rheumatoid arthritis; African Americans; cigarette smoking; rheumatoid factor; anti-CCP antibody
Previous studies suggest that people with arthritis have high rates of using complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) approaches for managing their arthritis, in addition to conventional treatments such as prescription medications. However, little is known about the use of CAM by diagnosis, or which forms of CAM are most frequently used by people with arthritis. This study was designed to provide detailed information about use of CAM for symptoms associated with arthritis in patients followed in primary care and specialty clinics in North Carolina.
Using a cross-sectional design, we drew our sample from primary care (n = 1,077) and specialist (n = 1,063) physician offices. Summary statistics were used to calculate differences within and between diagnostic groups, practice settings, and other characteristics. Logistic regression models clustered at the site level were used to determine the effect of patient characteristics on ever and current use of 9 CAM categories and an overall category of "any use."
Most of the participants followed by specialists (90.5%) and a slightly smaller percentage of those in the primary care sample (82.8%) had tried at least 1 complementary therapy for arthritis symptoms. Participants with fibromyalgia used complementary therapies more often than those with rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, or chronic joint symptoms. More than 50% of patients in both samples used over-the-counter topical pain relievers, more than 25% used meditation or drew on religious or spiritual beliefs, and more than 19% used a chiropractor. Women and participants with higher levels of education were more likely to report current use of alternative therapies.
Most arthritis patients in both primary care and specialty settings have used CAM for their arthritis symptoms. Health care providers (especially musculoskeletal specialists) should discuss these therapies with all arthritis patients.
We examined health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in white and African American patients based on their own and their community's socioeconomic status.
Participants were 4,565 adults recruited from 17 family physician practices in urban and rural areas of North Carolina. Education was used as a proxy for individual socioeconomic status, and the census block-group poverty level was used as a proxy for community socioeconomic status. HRQOL measures were the 12-Item Short Form Survey Instrument, physical component summary (PCS) and mental component summary (MCS), and 3 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention HRQOL healthy days measures. Multilevel analyses examined independent associations of individual and community poverty level with HRQOL, adjusting for demographics and clustering by family practice. Analyses were stratified by race and were conducted on subgroups of arthritis and cardiovascular disease patients.
Among whites, all 5 HRQOL measures were significantly associated with the lowest individual socioeconomic status, and 4 HRQOL measures were associated with the lowest community socioeconomic status (MCS being the exception). Among African Americans, 4 HRQOL measures were significantly associated with the lowest individual socioeconomic status and the lowest community socioeconomic status (PCS being the exception). Arthritis and cardiovascular disease subgroup analyses showed generally analogous findings.
Better HRQOL measures generally were associated with low levels of community poverty and high levels of education, emphasizing the need for further exploration of factors that influence health.
Active Living Every Day (ALED) is a 20-week behavioral theory-based physical activity program originally developed for the general population; the purpose of our qualitative evaluation was to investigate whether the existing program is also appropriate (regarding safety, content, and instructor training) for sedentary adults with arthritis.
We conducted telephone interviews with 30 of 355 participants in a randomized control trial of the ALED program for sedentary adults with arthritis within 6 months after they completed the program. Interviewees, who attended at least 50% of program classes, were asked about the safety of program activities, the knowledge they gained from the program, how they felt about their program instructors, and any recommendations they had for how the program could be modified to better serve people with arthritis. We used NUD*IST (N6) (QSR International, Melbourne, Australia) software for the qualitative data analysis. We also conducted a conference call with program instructors to elicit their opinion of the course and how it might be improved to better meet the needs of people with arthritis.
Twenty seven (90%) of the program participants we interviewed were female, and their average age was 69 years. Components of the course that they reported finding particularly helpful were being encouraged to exercise “bit by bit” and receiving social support from other adults with arthritis. Program instructors and program participants both generally felt that the program was appropriate for people with arthritis but could be enhanced with the following modifications: 1) incorporating arthritis-specific information in the textbook, 2) providing information on pain management, 3) and providing dietary and nutritional information for arthritis management. Instructors also reported a need for more information on pain management and arthritis during their training.
Although instructors and participants felt the ALED program as designed for the general population was useful for people with arthritis, they suggested minor modifications that would make the program even more beneficial. Some of these modifications may be applicable to other community-based activity programs not designed specifically for people with arthritis.
Medical skepticism is the reservation about the ability of conventional medical care to significantly improve health. Individuals with musculoskeletal disorders seeing specialists usually experience higher levels of disability; therefore it is expected they might be more skeptical of current treatment and thus more likely to try Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM). The goal of this study was to define these relationships. These data were drawn from a cross-sectional survey from two cohorts: those seeing specialists (n=1,344) and non-specialists (n=724). Site-level fixed effects logistic regression models were used to test associations between medical skepticism and 10 CAM use categories. Some form of CAM was used by 88% of the sample. Increased skepticism was associated with one CAM category for the non-specialist group and six categories for the specialist group. Increased medical skepticism is associated with CAM use, but medical skepticism is more often associated with CAM use for those seeing specialists.
Medical skepticism; complementary and alternative medicine; musculoskeletal disorders
Recent clinical trials have demonstrated that increasing physical activity among patients at risk for diabetes can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes. In this study, we surveyed primary care patients at risk for diabetes to 1) describe physical activity habits, supports, and barriers; 2) identify characteristics associated with increased physical activity; and 3) develop and assess the psychometric properties of an instrument that measures influences on physical activity.
A cross-sectional sample of 522 high-risk adults who attended 14 North Carolina primary care family practices were mailed a survey about physical activity and supports of and barriers to physical activity. Risk status was determined by the American Diabetes Association's diabetes risk test. Exploratory principal components factor analyses were conducted on the influences on physical activity instrument. Predictive logistic regression models were used for the dichotomous outcome, meeting recommended Healthy People 2010 activity levels.
Of the 258 respondents (56% response rate), 56% reported at least 150 minutes of moderate or vigorous activity per week. Higher education remained a significant demographic predictor of activity (odds ratio [OR], 1.72; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.08–2.75). Participants were less likely to be physically active if they reported that activity is a low priority (OR, 0.45; 95% CI, 0.23–0.89), were worried about injury (OR, 0.42; 95% CI, 0.25–0.69), or had difficulty finding time for activity (OR, 0.38; 95% CI, 0.17–0.87).
Participants at risk for diabetes who prioritize physical activity, make time for activity, and are less worried about injury have higher odds of being physically active. Primary care practice and community interventions should consider targeting these areas of success to increase physical activity in sedentary individuals at risk for diabetes.