Scores on the Arthritis Self-Efficacy Scale (ASES) may be associated with key areas of functioning in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis (OA), according to a study published in Rheumatology.

In this meta-analysis of 48 samples meeting 10 inclusion criteria of patients with OA or RA (n=9222; samples: OA, n=25; RA, n=21; mixed, n=2), the overall mean pain duration was 11.59 years (range, 2.52 to 23.70). Only studies in which self-reported ASES was used were included in the study. The ASES is commonly used to examine beliefs associated with a patient’s ability to function despite pain.

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ASES scores were found to correlate with functional impairment (r= −0.436; 95% CI, −0.385 to −0.484; P <.001), pain severity (r= −0.432; 95% CI, −0.379 to −0.483; P <.001), and emotional distress (r = −0.428; 95% CI, −0.378 to −0.475; P <.001). Larger ASES impairment effect sizes were found in studies that enrolled patients with RA vs studies with patients with OA only (effect size, −0.451 vs −0.347; P <.001), as well as in studies that used the 20- vs the 8-item ASES (effect size, −0.428 vs −0.265; P <.001). There were no moderating effects of sample age, gender composition, pain duration, and study quality on ASES functional impairment associations (P >.015 for all). The ASES version and subscale content were found to moderate associations between ASES scores and pain severity and emotional distress, respectively.

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Study limitations include the sole inclusion of patients with OA and RA, which may limit the generalizability of the findings across patients with other arthritic or rheumatic conditions.

“[C]ompared with ASES responses of OA cohorts, those of patients [with RA] may be better indicators of individual differences in perceived control and perseverance in daily physical activities,” concluded the study authors.


Jackson T, Xu T, Jia X. Arthritis self-efficacy beliefs and functioning among osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis patients: a meta-analytic review [published online June 18, 2019]. Rheumatology (Oxford). doi:10.1093/rheumatology/kez219

This article originally appeared on Clinical Pain Advisor