Depressive Mood Linked to Musculoskeletal Symptoms in Arthralgia

sad man in wheelchair
sad man in wheelchair
Depressive mood and low social support were associated with increased musculoskeletal symptoms in patients with seropositive arthralgia.

In patients with seropositive arthralgia, depressive mood and low levels of social support are not associated with the development of arthritis, but they are associated with increased musculoskeletal symptoms, according to results published in RMD Open.

The study included 5-year follow-up data of participants from the Reade seropositive arthralgia cohort (n=231). The researchers collected clinical and psychological data, using physical exams and questionnaires. They used mixed models and Cox regression analyses to assess the 5-year associations among depressive mood, daily stressors, avoidance coping, or social support and the development of arthritis or clinical parameters. Clinical parameters included tender joint count, visual analogue scale (VAS) for pain, VAS for morning stiffness, and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR).

The results showed that higher scores for depressive mood and lower scores for social support were not associated with the development of arthritis or ESR. However, the researchers found that they were longitudinally associated with an increase in pain (P <.001), morning stiffness (P <.01), and tender joint count (P <.001).

The researchers did not find any consistent associations among daily stressors, avoidance coping, and the development of arthritis or other clinical parameters.

Related Articles

“For clinicians it is important to be aware that, already in patients at risk of developing arthritis, depressive symptoms and low social support may increase musculoskeletal symptoms,” the researchers wrote.


Holla JFM, van Beers-Tas MH, van de Stadt LA, et al. Depressive mood and low social support are not associated with arthritis development in patients with seropositive arthralgia, although they predict increased musculoskeletal symptoms [published online June 27, 2018]. RMD Open. doi: 10.1136/rmdopen-2018-000653