Geenen, R., Newman, S., Bossema, E. R., Vriezekolk, J. E., & Boelen, P. A. (in press). Psychological interventions for patients with rheumatic diseases and anxiety or depression. Best Practice & Research Clinical Rheumatology.


The prevalence of clinical anxiety and clinical depression in rheumatic diseases is about twice the prevalence seen in the general population. At a milder level, the occurrence of psychological distress that does not fulfill diagnostic criteria of anxiety and depression is even higher. Evidence indicates that this high prevalence is multifactorial. Correlational studies suggest that possible factors for anxiety and depression include the suffering accompanying somatic symptoms, functional limitations, pro-inflammatory cytokines, helplessness due to the uncontrollable, unpredictable, and progressive nature of the disease, and other factors associated with having a chronic disease. This article reviews the prevalence and diagnosis of anxiety and depression in rheumatic diseases and it examines the contents and the impact of psychological interventions to address these difficulties for patients.