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Needing Help Provokes Negative Mood in Women With Osteoarthritis

By November 24, 2012

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Researchers have been intrigued by how women with osteoarthritis feel when they have to ask for help with daily activities. Some women feel more independent because the help allows them to do things they would otherwise not be able to do. But others feel dependent when they must ask for help -- and the dependency is tied to negative feelings and depressive symptoms.

To explore further, researchers surveyed 209 women, age 55 years and older, with osteoarthritis. According to study results presented at the 2012 annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology, on average, the study participants had mild to moderate osteoarthritis and perceived dependence. Greater perceived dependence was associated with greater signs and symptoms of depressed mood (e.g., crying, feeling down, worrying). Researchers concluded that how you feel about needing help affects your self-image. What you tell yourself matters. Rather than viewing the need for help as dependence, it would be helpful to focus on the positive impact it has on your life.

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