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Doctor-Diagnosed Arthritis and Self-Reported Physical Health Function Among Middle-Aged and Older Adults With Serious Mental Illness

Brooks, Jessica M. PhD*; Umucu, Emre PhD; Sánchez, Jennifer PhD‡,§,∥; Seehusen, Carol MS; Fortuna, Karen L. PhD, MSW¶,#; Chiu, Chungyi PhD**; Bartels, Stephen J. MD, MS††

The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: November 2019 - Volume 207 - Issue 11 - p 908–912
doi: 10.1097/NMD.0000000000001078
Brief Report

Arthritis is one of the most common chronic conditions in aging adults, with both physical and mental health issues and consequences. However, there is insufficient arthritis research among aging adults with serious mental illness (SMI). This study examined rates of doctor-diagnosed arthritis and its cross-sectional associations with self-reported physical health function among adults aged 50 years and older with SMI. Community-based mental health center participants (n = 176) reported clinical and sociodemographic data (e.g., physical health function, sex), whereas diagnostic information (i.e., arthritis, psychiatric, and medical diagnoses) was retrieved from medical records. Arthritis prevalence was high (43.8%) and had an independent, negative association with physical health function. Findings suggest that arthritis evaluations and intervention services need to be prioritized in middle-aged and older adults with SMI. Future research should focus on further testing arthritis self-management programs and other nonpharmacological psychosocial approaches for arthritis in aging adults with SMI.

*James J. Peters VA Medical Center, Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center, Bronx, New York

Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, The University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, Texas

Department of Rehabilitation and Counselor Education

§Iowa Consortium for Substance Abuse Research and Evaluation

I-SERVE (Iowa-Support, Education, and Resources for Veterans and Enlisted), The University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa

Geisel School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, Dartmouth College

#CDC Health Promotion Research Center at Dartmouth, Lebanon, New Hampshire

**Department of Kinesiology and Community Health, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, Illinois

††Mongan Institute and Health Policy and Community Health, Massachusetts General Hospital at Harvard University, Boston, Massachusetts.

Send reprint requests to Jessica M. Brooks, PhD, James J. Peters VA Medical Center, Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center, 130 W Kingsbridge Rd, Bronx, NY. E-mail:

Online date: September 12, 2019

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