This article provides an overview of the emerging literature on biopsychosocial assessment and treatment for two of the most common forms of arthritis: osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. The article is divided into 3 parts. In the 1st part, the basic elements of the biopsychosocial approach to assessing and treating persons having arthritis is described. In the 2nd part, the authors evaluate studies of biopsychosocial approaches to the assessment of arthritis pain and disability. Six research areas are reviewed: learned helplessness, depression, stress, pain coping, self-efficacy, and the social context of arthritis. The 3rd part of the article reviews studies that testing the efficacy of biopsychosocial treatment approaches for persons having osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
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