Avoidance of activity and disability in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee: The mediating role of muscle strength

M. P.M. Steultjens*, J. Dekker, J. W.J. Bijlsma

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Objective. Avoidance of activity is hypothesized to lead to muscle weakness and consequently, to physical disability. This study was undertaken to validate the avoidance model by providing evidence for the mediating role of muscle weakness in the relationship between avoidance of activity and physical disability in patients with osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee. Methods. Data on avoidance of activity, observed physical disability, and muscle strength of the knee in 107 patients with knee OA were analyzed. A series of regression analyses was performed to establish the mediating role of muscle weakness. First, the effect of avoidance of activity on the level of disability was assessed. Next, the relationship between avoidance of activity and muscle strength was established. Finally, the mediating role of muscle strength could be established if the effect of avoidance of activity on disability decreased when muscle strength was taken into account. Results. Initially, avoidance of activity accounted for 21.5% of variance in disability. Avoidance of activity also accounted for 3.9% of variance in muscle strength. After muscle strength was taken into account, the variance in disability accounted for by avoidance of activity was reduced from 21.5% to 15.7%. Thus, the criteria for establishing the mediating role of muscle strength were met. Conclusion. The results of this study provide evidence for the mediating role of muscle weakness in the relationship between avoidance of activity and disability in patients with knee OA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1784-1788
Number of pages5
JournalArthritis and Rheumatism
Volume46
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2002

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