Skip directly to search Skip directly to A to Z list Skip directly to navigation Skip directly to site content Skip directly to page options
CDC Home

1-in-9 U.S. adults with arthritis report restrictions in social life

Restrictions in social life are strongly related to physical limitations, so evidence-based public health interventions which improve function and delay disability may help address them.

A new CDC study examined the prevalence of social participation restriction (restriction in social life) among US adults with arthritis and found that 1-in-9 (more than 11%) report being limited in social participation activities such as shopping, going to movies or sporting events, visiting friends, attending clubs or meetings, or going to parties.

a solitary man looking out a window.Among adults with arthritis, 11% (5.7 million) report social participation restriction (SPR). The health status of those with SPR was poorer than those without—they had a higher prevalence of severe joint pain, more frequent comorbidities, and more physical limitations, including activity limitations and lower levels of physical activity. They also had a higher prevalence of delaying health care due to cost and lower education levels.
SPR is a concept promoted by the World Health Organization as part of its International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health (ICF). The ICF framework is designed to consider the anatomical/physiological, individual, and societal consequences of a health condition in the context of personal and environmental factors.  Restrictions in these areas can indicate disability, which may be amendable to interventions.

This is the first study to use the ICF framework in a population-based sample of US adults with arthritis. In addition to expected findings like strong associations with severe joint pain and physical limitation, the study found a novel association between SPR and excessive sleep. Also, low financial resources (e.g., household income of less than 200% of the poverty level and other measures of assets and receipt of public assistance) were associated with SPR, suggesting they may have a key role in SPR.

In particular, clinical and public health interventions to decrease pain, control negative mental health effects, manage arthritis symptoms, and create environments in which people with limitations or impairments are still able to participate are promising targets to reduce SPR among people with arthritis.


Theis KA, Murphy L, Hootman JM, Wilkie R. Social participation restriction among US adults with arthritis: A population-based study using the International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health (ICF). Arthritis Care Res. 2013;65(7):1059-1069. Abstract


Contact Us:
  • Arthritis Program
    Mailstop F-78
    4770 Buford Hwy NE
    Atlanta, GA 30341-3724
  • Phone: 770.488.5464
    Fax: 770.488.5964
  • Contact CDC-Info The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention   1600 Clifton Rd. Atlanta, GA 30329-4027, USA
800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) TTY: (888) 232-6348 - Contact CDC-INFO