Investigating Dimensions of Stiffness in Rheumatoid and Psoriatic Arthritis: The Australian Rheumatology Association Database Registry and OMERACT Collaboration

Premarani Sinnathurai, Susan J. Bartlett, Serena Halls, Sarah Hewlett, Ana Maria Orbai, Rachelle Buchbinder, Lyndall Henderson, Catherine L. Hill, Marissa Lassere, Lyn March

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OBJECTIVE: It is not known how the experience of stiffness varies between diagnoses or how best to measure stiffness. The aims of our study were to (1) compare stiffness in psoriatic arthritis (PsA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) using patient-reported outcomes, (2) investigate how dimensions of stiffness are associated with each other and reflect the patient experience, and (3) analyze how different dimensions of stiffness are associated with physical function. METHODS: An online survey was sent to Australian Rheumatology Association Database participants (158 PsA, and 158 age- and sex-matched RA), assessing stiffness severity, duration, impact, importance, coping, and physical function [modified Health Assessment Questionnaire (mHAQ)]. Scores were compared between diagnoses and correlations among stiffness dimensions calculated. Multivariate regression was performed for stiffness severity, impact, and duration on mHAQ, adjusting for age, sex, disease duration, obesity, and pain. Cognitive debriefing was conducted through semistructured telephone interviews. RESULTS: Overall, 240/316 (75.9%) responded [124/158 RA (78.5%) and 116/158 PsA (73.4%)], with no significant difference in stiffness ratings between diagnoses. Scores for all stiffness dimensions were strongly correlated (r = 0.52-0.89), and severity and impact were associated with mHAQ in both diagnoses. Stiffness duration was not associated with mHAQ in RA. In cognitive debriefing, participants described stiffness severity and impact by their effect on daily activities (10/16 and 14/16 participants, respectively). CONCLUSION: Stiffness ratings were similar between PsA and RA. Different dimensions of stiffness were strongly correlated. Stiffness severity and impact both independently predicted mHAQ. Stiffness was important to participants; however, measuring multiple dimensions of stiffness may have minimal additive value.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1462-1469
Number of pages8
JournalThe Journal of Rheumatology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2019


  • Outcomes research
  • Patient perspective
  • Psoriatic arthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

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