Background: Obese rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients have higher levels of pain, disability, and disease activity than do nonobese patients with RA. Patients’ health-related thoughts about arthritis and weight may be important to consider in obese patients with RA who face the dual challenge of managing RA and weight.
Objectives: The objective of this study was to examine the relationships of pain catastrophizing, self-efficacy (ie, confidence) for arthritis management and self-efficacy for weight management to important outcomes in obese patients with RA. We expected that after controlling for demographic and medical variables, higher levels of pain catastrophizing and lower levels of confidence would account for significant and unique variance in pain, physical functioning, and overeating.
Methods: Participants had a diagnosis of RA and a body mass index of 28 kg/m2 or greater and completed self-report questionnaires assessing pain, physical functioning, overeating, pain catastrophizing, self-efficacy for arthritis management, self-efficacy for weight management, and a 6-minute walk test.
Results: Pain catastrophizing, self-efficacy for arthritis, and self-efficacy for weight management were significantly and uniquely related to RA-related outcomes. Pain catastrophizing was a significant independent predictor of pain severity (β = 0.38); self-efficacy for arthritis was a significant independent predictor of self-report physical functioning (β = −0.37) and the 6-minute walk performance (β = 0.44), and self-efficacy for weight management was a significant independent predictor of overeating (β = −0.58).
Conclusions: Pain catastrophizing, self-efficacy for arthritis, and self-efficacy for weight management each contributed uniquely to relate to key outcomes in obese patients with RA. Clinicians should consider assessment of thought processes when assessing and intervening with patients who face dual health challenges; unique intervention approaches may be needed for addressing the challenges of arthritis and weight.