Correlates of physical activity in adults with spondyloarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis: a systematic review: a systematic review

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Physical activity (PA) is a primary non-pharmacological treatment option for those living with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and spondyloarthritis (SpA). The aim of this systematic literature review was to summarize and present an updated synthesis of the factors associated with PA in the RA and SpA populations. A tailored search of PubMed (inc. Medline), Web of Science, Embase, APA PsycNET, and Scopus was conducted for research published between 2004 and June 2019. Methodological quality was assessed using The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Quality Assessment Tools for Observational Cohort and Cross-sectional Studies, Case–Control Studies, and Controlled Intervention Studies. Forty RA and eleven SpA articles met the inclusion criteria. Methodological quality was generally fair to good, with two RA studies rated as poor. Correlates are discussed in the sociodemographic, physical, psychological, social, and environmental categories. Environmental factors were not measured in any RA study. In individuals living with RA, consistent positive associations were found between PA and high-density lipoprotein, self-efficacy, and motivation. Consistent negative associations were found for functional disability and fatigue. In individuals with SpA, consistent positive associations were found between PA and quality of life, and consistent negative associations with functional disability. Physical and psychological factors are most consistently related with PA parameters in those living with RA and SpA. Many variables were inconsistently studied and showed indeterminant associations. Studies with prospective designs are needed to further understand the factors associated with PA in these populations, especially in those living with SpA.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1693-1713
Number of pages21
JournalRheumatology International
Issue number10
Early online date8 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished - 31 Oct 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Dr. Raj Sengupta has previously held unrelated grants from UCB, Pfizer, Abbvie and Novartis and received honoraria for giving talks from Abbvie, Biogen, Lilly, UCB, Novartis and Pfizer. Rosie Barnett has received unrelated funding from UCB. Thomas Ingram, Prof. Martyn Standage, and Dr. Peter Rouse have no disclosures.

Funding Information:
We thank the Bath Institute for Rheumatic Diseases (BIRD) and the University of Bath for funding Thomas’s PhD studentship. We would also like to thank Peter Bradley (Subject Librarian) at the University of Bath for his help with search terms and databases.


  • Correlate
  • Factor
  • Physical activity
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Spondyloarthritis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Rheumatology
  • Immunology


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