Papers And Originals

Rheumatoid Arthritis and Personality: A Controlled Study

Br Med J 1971; 2 doi: (Published 08 May 1971) Cite this as: Br Med J 1971;2:297
  1. Dermot J. Ward


    Evidence in support of claims for the existence of a special relationship between personality and rheumatoid arthritis is conflicting. In this study four groups—one of patients with early rheumatoid arthritis, one of patients with chronic rheumatoid arthritis, one of neurotic patients, and a normal control group—were compared by means of the Maudsley Personality Inventory (M.P.I.) and a neurotic trait in childhood (N.T.C.) score. Both arthritis groups had a lower M.P.I. neuroticism score than the normal control group, with greater significance in the chronic arthritis group. The neurotic group had a significantly higher neuroticism score than the other three groups. Both arthritis groups had a lower extraversion score than normal controls, again with greater significance in the chronic arthritis group. The neurotic group scored significantly less than normal controls on the extraversion scale and intermediately between the early and chronic arthritis groups. There was no significant difference between the arthritis groups and the normal control group in the N.T.C. score, but it was significantly increased in the neurotic group.

    These findings suggest that people with rheumatoid arthritis differ significantly in personality from normal and from neurotic people, that the differences are accentuated with chronicity in the rheumatoid process, and that the differences develop as a result of the arthritis.


    • * Paper delivered to the Royal Irish Academy of Medicine, Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, on 3 December 1969.