A new study from the United Kingdom entitled “Fostering autonomous motivation, physical activity and cardiorespiratory fitness in rheumatoid arthritis: protocol and rationale for a randomized control trial,” was recently published in the journal BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, and provides a potential multifactorial treatment approach for patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a serious muscoskeletal condition that affects nearly 1% of adults. Symptoms include joint pain, stiffness, and swelling. Ultimately, RA can lead to structural damage and psychical dysfunction. RA is associated with significant psychological distress and is known to be associated with increased morbidity and mortality, especially from cardiovascular disease.
Physical activity (PA) is known to reduce associated cardiovascular problems in people with RA, and also improves psychological well being.
SDT is contemporary motivation theory that provides guidance regarding key social environmental factors that can be manipulated to support motivational processes conducive to positive health behavior change and optimal functioning
In this regard, Peter Rouse and colleagues are conducting a randomized controlled trial to examine if a SDT-based psychological intervention plus an exercise program customized for patients with RA promotes the adoption and maintenance of PA (3, 6 and 12 months).
Furthermore, the researchers are examining if this protocol improves cardiovascular and well-being in patients with RA, compared to a standard provision the exercise program customized for this particular patient group. Additionally, the researchers are examining the cost-effectiveness of this intervention vs. an exercise program alone.
In their study, the researchers provide the rationale and the protocol for conducting a randomized controlled trial investigating the effect of participation in two exercise programs customized for people with RA. The trial will involve a protocol of exercise only versus exercise with an additional psychological intervention.
This protocol aims to enhance the adoption and maintenance of PA, autonomous motivation for PA engagement, and associated indicators of health, quality of life, and psychological well being.
Results from this randomized controlled trial are going to be published soon. The team of researchers hope that this protocol can provide guidance of specific social environmental factors that can lead to positive health behavior changes and optimal physical and psychological functioning in the patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis.