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We examined the categorization of the helplessness subscale of the Arthritis Helplessness Index (AHI) into clinical ranges analogous to laboratory values, and the predictive validity of these cutoff scores over a 2-year period. Data were obtained via questionnaires mailed every 6 months over 5 time periods to 368 patients who had been diagnosed as having rheumatoid arthritis. The results demonstrate that patients classified as low helpless were distinct from those classified as normal. In turn, those classified normal were distinct from high helpless patients on numerous measures of beliefs, affect, behavior, and symptom severity. Even after 2 years, the 5-item helplessness subscale identified distinct clinical courses for these 3 groups.