In a study of 284 consecutive patients with rheumatoid arthritis attending hospital clinics a previous observation that female patients score higher on the Stanford Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ) than men was confirmed. A clinical disease severity score and the spread/severity index also showed that women had more severe disease. Although scores in some categories of the HAQ were higher in women, they were not disproportionately so, providing no evidence that domestic categories of the HAQ are biased against women. A multiple regression analysis showed that the spread/severity index score was the best predictor of HAQ scores, with sex making no significant contribution. The severity of the disease adequately explained the higher HAQ scores in female patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
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