Study of INSIGHTS Data Reveals How Emotional Support Positively Impacts Patient Empowerment

Feeling empowered is critically important for arthritis patients — from diagnosis through treatment.

ATLANTA (August 8, 2022) — A report on the Arthritis Foundation’s ongoing INSIGHTS study of arthritis patients finds that people with more emotional support tend to report feeling more empowered in their healthcare interactions. The report, published in the Journal of Rheumatology, is based on analysis conducted by the Dartmouth College Center for Program Design & Evaluation (CPDE). The journal’s editor spotlighted the article and interviewed the authors as well.

INSIGHTS is the largest ongoing study of arthritis patient-reported outcomes data. The paper (Carluzzo et al., 2022) showed that emotional support was more important in explaining patients’ feelings of empowerment than things like their self-reported physical functioning, depressive symptoms or demographic characteristics. In other words, more emotional support is associated with more feelings of empowerment. People with more emotional support tend to report feeling more empowered when talking with healthcare providers, obtaining answers to their disease-related questions, having their choices respected, and getting help and information.

Nearly 60 million people in the U.S. are living with an arthritis diagnosis, and by 2040, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates the number will reach 78.4 million. Despite the prevalence of arthritis, many patients report feeling isolated, especially after a diagnosis. Feeling empowered is critically important for arthritis patients—from diagnosis through treatment. Empowered patients are active participants in their care with the ability to voice questions, concerns and opinions throughout the course of their disease.

The Arthritis Foundation promotes life-changing resources and cutting-edge research, while cultivating connections and community for patients and caregivers. Arthritis patients and caregivers can establish and maintain those vital connections through the Arthritis Foundation’s in-person and virtual Live Yes! Connect Groups. These patient-led support groups forge connections with others who share similar challenges and create a forum for patients to share tips and encouragement.

Findings of the ongoing INSIGHTS study guide the Arthritis Foundation’s science and research funding selections and the development of patient resources like Vim, the pain management app. The Foundation engaged CPDE in 2018 to enhance the INSIGHTS patient survey design in to address constituents’ desires for more resources addressing physical health, quality of life, social connection, emotional well-being, and experiences of healthcare.

“Arthritis impacts every aspect of life for those living with it — physically, emotionally, financially and socially, and our resources for patients must address the whole patient in

order to help patients improve their quality of life,” said Vickie Fung, senior vice president of mission delivery, Arthritis Foundation. “CPDE’s analysis of patient data and their ongoing work with us to expand INSIGHTS participation will help us further hone our patient education resources and services, as we continue funding research that will lead to a cure.”


About the Arthritis Foundation  

The Arthritis Foundation is fighting for all people who live with arthritis. As a Champion of Yes, it's the Arthritis Foundation's mission to turn the obstacles arthritis causes into opportunities. The Arthritis Foundation champions life-changing solutions and medical advancements, and it also provides ways for people to connect, break down barriers in health care and join the fight for a cure — uniting hearts, minds and resources to change the future of arthritis. To join the fight to cure arthritis, visit