The role of psychosocial factors that contribute to the maintenance of health has been conceptualized in terms of a health-sustaining function (or direct-effects hypothesis), as well as a stress-reducing function (or moderating hypothesis). This study is concerned with the stress-reducing
function of helplessness on Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) health outcome. In a sample of 186 adult hospital RA patients of low socioeconomic status, helplessness measured by the Arthritis Helplessness Index (AHI; Nicassio, Wallston, Callahan, Herbert, & Pincus, 1985), was found to moderate
the relationship between the following: swollen joint count and depression, number of tender joints and functional ability, tender joint count and pain experience, and tender joint count and perceived disability.