Role of stress in the development of rheumatoid arthritis: a case-control study.

The primary objective of this study was to assess the stressful life events preceding the onset of symptoms in RA. The secondary objectives were to assess how early RA patients perceive stress and cope with stressors.A case-control study was performed, comparing patients recently diagnosed with RA to age- and gender-matched control subjects recently hospitalized for an unplanned surgical procedure not known to be influenced by stress. The Social Readjustment Rating Scale assessed the cumulative stress induced by stressful life events in the year preceding the onset of symptoms. Coping strategies, stress and anxiety symptoms were evaluated using validated psychological scales.Seventy-six subjects were included in each group. The mean Social Readjustment Rating Scale score was twice as high in cases compared with controls [respectively, 167.0 (172.5) vs 83.3 (124.4), P 

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