Background Disability in RA is more pronounced in women than in men and pain is strongly related to activity limitation and participation. The Valued life activity scale (VLA) is a questionnaire in which patient’s first report if the separate activities are valued or not to perform and secondly difficulties to perform these activities. To measure disability with VLA includes the patient’s perspective in a unique way compared to traditional disability measurements of daily activities (e.g., HAQ).
Objectives Objective was to examine difficulties to perform valued life activities and how this is related to pain in women and men with RA.
Methods Patients aged 18 - 80 year with RA were recruited from the Swedish Rheumatology’s Quality Registry (SRQ) at three clinics. The inclusion criteria were : fulfilling 4 of 7 ACR criteria, ages 18 - 80 year, ≥4 years duration and data registered in SRQ at a visit at the clinic during 2011. Totally 1,277 patients were approached and 737 (58%) responded to the study specific questionnaire which measured performance of 33 differentvalued life activities by a Swedish version of VLA and pain by Visual Analogue Scale (VAS). Patients were sub groupedbased on low-pain intensity (VAS>40) and pain high-pain intensity (VAS <40). The relationship between performance of valued life activities and pain were analysed based on gender.
Results Across the genders, 85% reported at least one valued life activity affected by RA. Significantly more women encountered difficulties in performing cooking, heavy housework, minor repairs, gardening, community mobility, shopping, child care, having others visit, volunteer work, study, sleeping and meeting new people. No valued life activities were identified in which men reported more difficulties than women.
Women (73%) reported higher pain intensity (35 mm) than men (31 mm). Regardless of gender, 58% had low pain (VAS <40) while 42% had high pain (VAS ≥40). Almost all 33 difficulty ratings for valued life activities were significantly higher in the high-pain group than in the low-pain group. There were significant correlations (rho ranging from .19 to .68) with respect to difficulty ratings for valued life activities and pain in the low-pain group. In the high-paingroup, however, difficulty ratings forthe 33 valued life activities were not correlated with the degree of pain.
Conclusions VLA assisted in identifying that low levels of pain were positively correlated with difficulties to perform valued life activities. Women reported more pain and difficulties in performing valued life activities than men. These results draw attention to the importance of addressing valued activities especially among female patients with low levels of pain, since their pain may impact on their activities in daily life that they identify as important.
Disclosure of Interest None Declared