The broad objective of this research is to understand disability in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) within the theoretical framework of The Disablement Process Model. This model postulates a main disease-disability pathway in which pathology causes impairments, which lead to functional limitations, which, in turn, cause disability. Risk factors that precede and interventions or exacerbation's that follow the onset of the process of disablement, modify the main pathway.
The specific aims of this application are: (1) To define the temporal sequence of events in the development of disability due to RA attributable to altered articular structure; (2) To define the temporal sequence of events leading to disability in RA attributable to pain; (3) To define the temporal sequence of events leading to disability in RA attributable to symptoms of depression; (4) To evaluate the modifying effect of medical interventions and co-morbidity. The models and hypotheses of this application are based on cross-sectional analyses on a cohort of 455 persons with RA participating in Dr. Escalante's current ORALE Study (Outcome of Rheumatoid Arthritis Longitudinal Evaluation). The ORALE cohort will be augmented to 760 members by the end of the first year of this application. Four yearly follow-ups are planned after the initial baseline assessment, to be conducted during the first through fourth years of this 5-year application. Main pathway factors that will be assessed include the inflammatory response, serum rheumatoid factor, bone destruction and extra-articular signs and symptoms, corresponding to pathology; articular signs and symptoms, strength, ambulation and manual dexterity, corresponding to impairments; activities of daily living, under functional limitations; and physical disability. Risk factors are age, gender and ethnicity, the HLA-DRB1 genotype, education, occupation, income, functional health literacy and acculturation. Psychosocial modifiers include and social support, learned helplessness, self-efficacy, coping strategies, stress, symptoms of depression, and coexistent medical conditions. Interventions to be measured include anti-rheumatic drugs and joint surgery, the lag between disease onset and initiation of anti-rheumatic therapy, compliance, and rehabilitation interventions.
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