Objective: The objectives of this study are to identify patterns of anxiety symptomology over time among patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and to assess the longitudinal relationship between SLE disease activity and anxiety symptomology. Methods: Longitudinal data from 139 patients with American College of Rheumatology or Systemic Lupus International Collborating Clinic (SLICC)-classified SLE were analyzed. Anxiety symptomology was assessed using the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) Emotional Distress: Anxiety Short Form 8a. SLE disease activity was measured using the Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Disease Activity Index (SLEDAI)-2000 (S2K) and S2K Responder Index 50 (S2K RI-50). Group-based trajectory modeling (GBTM) identified longitudinal trajectories of anxiety symptomology. The relationship between disease activity and anxiety over time was assessed using multilevel linear regressions. Results: The mean patient age was 40.2 years (standard deviation [SD], 12.7); 90.6% were female, and 56.1% were of Black race. All patients had at least three PROMIS anxiety scores over an average of 30.9 months (SD, 13.0). GBTM identified four trajectories of anxiety symptomology, labeled as the following: low (LA), average (AA), moderate (MA), and high anxiety (HA). Black patients were 2.47 (95% confidence interval: 1.19-5.12) times as likely as White patients to be classified into the MA or HA groups compared with the LA or AA groups. On multivariable analysis, active SLE disease was not significantly associated with anxiety over time (P = 0.19). Conclusion: Anxiety trajectories remained stable over time, and racial differences in anxiety severity were observed. SLE disease activity was not longitudinally associated with anxiety after controlling for depression and other factors. Further understanding of the factors that contribute to the persistence of anxiety among individuals with SLE is necessary.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)432-440
Number of pages9
JournalACR Open Rheumatology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2022


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