Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) can have a significant impact on health‐related quality of life (HRQoL). Data on the timing of changes in the HRQoL of patients with PsA are limited. The present study was undertaken to explore associations between sleep disturbance, fatigue, pain, anxiety, depression, general health status, and satisfaction with life before and after a diagnosis of PsA compared to the general population. Patients diagnosed with PsA between the Nord‐Trøndelag Health Study (HUNT2 [1995–1997] and HUNT3 [2006–2008]) surveys were compared to the general population. The adjusted odds ratio (ORadj) with 95% confidence interval (95% CI) was estimated at both time points.

Among 36,507 individuals participating in both the HUNT2 and HUNT3 surveys, 160 were diagnosed with PsA between the surveys. The prevalence of sleep disturbances and fatigue was higher in PsA patients after diagnosis compared to the general population (ORadj 2.24 [95% CI 1.55–3.25] and ORadj 1.94 [95% CI 1.27–2.98], respectively). The prevalence of pain and poor health status were higher in patients with PsA compared with the general population even before PsA was diagnosed (ORadj 2.81 [95% CI 1.96–4.02] and ORadj 3.08 [95% CI 2.19–4.35], respectively) and increased after diagnosis of PsA (ORadj 12.87 [95% CI 6.27–26.40] and ORadj 5.63 [95% CI 3.99–7.95], respectively). For anxiety, depression, and life satisfaction, patients who developed PsA were comparable to the general population both before and after the diagnosis of PsA.

Compared to the general population, PsA patients reported a higher prevalence of pain and poorer health status before diagnosis. Increased prevalence of sleep disturbances and fatigue in PsA patients was only found after the PsA diagnosis, and no differences between patients with PsA and the control group were found for anxiety and depression.