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Well-being and arthritis incidence: The role of inflammatory mechanisms. Findings from the English longitudinal study of ageing

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)742-748
Number of pages7
JournalPsychosomatic Medicine
Issue number7
Early online date10 Jun 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Jun 2017


Objective: Higher wellbeing is associated with lower levels of inflammatory markers in healthy populations; however, it is unclear whether this association translates into a reduced risk of disease. In the current study, we tested whether the association between wellbeing and inflammation results in a lower risk of arthritis. Methods: The sample consisted of 5,622 participants aged ≥ 50 from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing and included 6 waves of data collection. We used a structural equation modelling approach to test whether inflammatory markers (Creactive protein or fibrinogen) mediated the association between wellbeing and arthritis risk over a 10 year follow up period. Results: Higher levels of wellbeing were associated with a decrease in arthritis risk (hazard ratio = 0.97 per unit; 95% confidence interval = 0.96, 0.98; p < 0.001). Of the two inflammatory markers, only C-reactive protein was associated with arthritis risk. Mediation analysis revealed that the indirect effect of wellbeing (at wave 1) on arthritis risk via CRP (at wave 2) was significant (hazard ratio = 0.996; 95% confidence interval = 0.995, 0.998; p < 0.001). This effect remained significant following adjustment for demographic and health behaviour variables and depressive symptoms. Conclusion: C-reactive protein accounts for a small proportion of the association between wellbeing and a reduced risk of arthritis.

    Research areas

  • wellbeing, arthritis, inflammation, mediation, longitudinal study

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