Many patients with juvenile idiopathic arthritis may experience pain interference, which can be associated with greater pain intensity, disability, and pain anxiety and less leisure-time activity, according to a study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Rheumatology.

A total of 195 consecutive patients (aged 18-30 years) with juvenile idiopathic arthritis who visited 3 tertiary rheumatology and rehabilitation centers were asked to complete questionnaires regarding demographics, disability, depressive symptoms and pain anxiety, intensity, and interference. Study participants were categorized as having significant, minor, or no pain interference.

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A total of 97 patients (50%) reported experiencing pain interference, and 39 patients reported significant pain interference. Many clinical, health behavior, and sociodemographic characteristics were significantly associated with pain interference, including age, female gender, smoking, polyarthritis, antirheumatic treatment, and several comorbidities.

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Patients who had significant vs low pain interference were found to have higher mean pain intensity scores (5.3 vs 0.8, respectively; P <0.001). Greater pain interference was also associated with higher disability scores evaluated with the Health Assessment Questionnaire (mean, 0.7 vs 0.02, respectively; P <0.001), higher pain anxiety scores (mean, 30.4 vs 9.3, respectively; P <0.001), lower leisure-time physical activity metabolic equivalent of task (P =.027), and poorer leisure time activity (P <.001).

Study limitations include an inability to infer causality because of the study’s cross-sectional design.

“The results of this study imply that pain not only has an impact in terms of its intensity; it is a much broader issue, which includes the impact it has on an individual’s life, comprising various physical, mental, and social problems. The broader conceptualization of pain, including observing pain interference in young adults with juvenile idiopathic arthritis, is needed,” concluded the study authors.


Rebane K, Orenius T, Ristolainen L, et al. Pain interference and associated factors in young adults with juvenile idiopathic arthritis [published online June 7, 2019]. Scand J Rheumatol. doi:10.1080/03009742.2019.1596308

This article originally appeared on Clinical Pain Advisor