Dr. Opava states, “For 40 years I have been researching the importance of psychosocial factors for physical activity. My colleagues and I wanted to better understand why, despite the achievement of better inflammation control via medications, there remain many RA patients who report significant levels of pain and fatigue. Specifically, we wanted to examine what leads many of these patients to avoid physical activity.”
Dr. Opava says, “We looked at changing patterns in this large sample and ended up with a diagram where each line represents one patient, and they cluster together in certain ways. So if you group them according to clusters, then you get trajectories. We chose a three-trajectory solution that makes sense, both clinically and statistically. Included were four items from the FABQ-PA on beliefs about physical activity causing pain and injury: 1) pain is caused by physical activity, 2) physical activity makes one’s pain worse, 3) physical activity might be harmful, and 4) one should not do physical activity that might worsen one’s pain.
“The scale went from 0 (do not agree at all) to 6 (agree); values over 15 have been shown to indicate high fear avoidance. Three trajectories of fear-avoidance beliefs were identified: low (mean FABQ-PA=3), moderate (mean FABQ-PA=9) and high (mean FABQ-PA=15).”