How’s Your Social Life?

Adults with arthritis may respond to this question that their social life is limited.  If you are trying to think about how you would respond to this question, there are several things you may want to think about.  When friends or family invite you to attend a gathering, are you able to attend?  Do you still do shopping on your own?  When is the last time you went to a movie, sporting event, or public festival?  How often do you visit friends and family members?  Are you still an active participant in social and service organizations?

If, when thinking of your social life, you realize you are limited in your participation of social activities, you are not alone!  1 in 9 adults in the United States who have arthritis report they are limited in social participation (Theis KA, Murphy L, Hootman JM & Wilikie R., 2013).  That 11% equals 5.7 million United States adults who feel their social life is restricted (Theis et al, 2013).  And, here in Missouri, social restriction is a more common issue amongst adults with arthritis.  20.9% of Missouri adults with arthritis reported that their social activities were interrupted a lot (Missouri DHSS, 2012). This is an increase from the 2009 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey data, which only showed 16%, or 207,000, of Missouri adults with arthritis had social participation limits due to their arthritis (CDC, 2010).

More adults in Missouri with arthritis have social restrictions as compared to the U.S. population of adults with arthritis.  The adults with arthritis who report limitations on their social life also report:

  • more severe joint pain
  • multiple chronic conditions and activity limitations
  • a higher prevalence of delaying health care due to cost
  • lower education
  • lower physical activity. (Theis et al, 2013)

If you are part of the nearly 21% of Missouri adults with arthritis who are limited in participation of social activities, there are programs that may help you.  51% of Missouri adults with arthritis have been recommended by a physician or other health care provider to use physical activity or exercise to help with their symptoms (Missouri DHSS, 2012).  Yet, in 2011, only 11.4% reported having taken an education course or class to help manage their symptoms (Missouri DHSS, 2012).  Theis et al explain, "because social and physical limitations are strongly related, evidence-based public health interventions that improve function may help reduce arthritis-related limitations" (2013).

These evidence-based public health interventions/classes are offered for adults in Missouri with chronic health conditions, including arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.  These programs are focused toward improving self-management and physical activity.

For more information on classes available in Missouri and how you can improve your quality of life, including your social life, contact your local Regional Arthritis Center.  Taking just one small step toward improving your overall health can greatly help to improve your social life!



Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  (2010).  Adults Ages 18 or Older with Self Reported Doctor-Diagnosed Arthritis in Missouri. Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2009.

Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services; Office of Epidemiology.  (2012). 2011 Missouri Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Key Findings. Jefferson City, MO: August 2012.

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

Follow Missouri Regional Arthritis Centers

Scroll to Top