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Dispositional Affect in Unique Subgroups of Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis
Background:Patients with rheumatoid arthritis may experience increased negative outcomes if they exhibit specific patterns of dispositional affect. Objective: To identify subgroups of patients with rheumatoid arthritis based on dispositional affect. The secondary objective was to compare mood, pain catastrophizing, fear of pain, disability, and quality of life between subgroups. Methods: Outpatients from a rheumatology clinic were categorized into subgroups by a cluster analysis based on dispositional affect. Differences in outcomes were compared between clusters through multivariate analysis of covariance. Results: 227 patients were divided into two subgroups. Cluster 1 (n= 85) included patients reporting significantly higher scores on all dispositional variables (experiential avoidance, anxiety sensitivity, worry, fear of pain, and perfectionism; all P < 0.001) compared to patients in Cluster 2 (n = 142). Patients in Cluster 1 also reported significantly greater mood impairment, pain anxiety sensitivity, and pain catastrophizing (all P < 0.001). Clusters did not differ on quality of life or disability. Conclusions: The present study identifies a subgroup of rheumatoid arthritis patients who score significantly higher on dispositional affect and report increased mood impairment, pain anxiety sensitivity, and pain catastrophizing. Considering dispositional affect within subgroups of patients with RA may help health professionals tailor interventions for the specific stressors that these patients experience.
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