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Abstract Background: Despite emotional stress being recognised as a key trigger for Raynaud’s phenomenon episodes, research in the area is still in its infancy. Aims: This study investigated the role of psychological factors relating to symptom severity and quality of life, and differences between Raynaud’s types (primary and secondary) to further inform the development of intervention in this field. Method: A cross-sectional design was used. Two hundred and ten adults with Raynaud’s completed an online questionnaire measuring stress, anxiety, depression, anxiety sensitivity, beliefs about emotions, symptom severity and quality of life. Results: Primary and secondary Raynaud’s groups differed in anxiety (p < .004), symptom severity (p < .001) and quality of life (p < .001). Stepwise multiple regressions indicated anxiety and Raynaud’s type explained 23% variance in hand symptom severity (p < .001); anxiety, Raynaud’s type and anxiety sensitivity explained 29% variance in symptom severity (global impact, p < .001); depression, Raynaud’s type and anxiety sensitivity explained 32% variance in quality of life (p < .001). Conclusions: Results highlight the importance of psychological factors in Raynaud’s phenomenon, indicating possible targets for treatment. Interventions such as cognitive behavioural therapy, which target both physical and psychological wellbeing, bear some promise as an adjuvant therapy for this group.

Original publication




Journal article


Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy


Cambridge University Press (CUP)

Publication Date



1 - 14