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This article is part of the supplement: Current perspectives on the treatment of rheumatic diseases with infliximab

Open Badges Supplement

The determination and measurement of functional disability in rheumatoid arthritis

Frederick Wolfe

Author Affiliations

National Data Bank for Rheumatic Diseases-Arthritis Research Center Foundation and University of Kansas School of Medicine, Wichita, Kansas, USA

Arthritis Res 2002, 4(Suppl 2):S11-S15  doi:10.1186/ar547

Published: 8 April 2002


Although functional outcome is frequently discussed and written about, it is often not clear what functional outcome is and how it can be measured. This paper introduces the concept of latent and observed measures of functional disability, and distinguishes between disability as a process measure and disability as an outcome measure. Using the Health Assessment Questionnaire as the main functional outcome measure in rheumatoid arthritis, we propose and discuss several methods for determining disability, and describe the implications of altering the disability course.

disability; functional disability; Health Assessment Questionnaire; outcome; rheumatoid arthritis