Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic disease, which can lead to considerable psychological distress. The present study evaluated anxiety and depression symptoms for this chronic and painful illness within the framework of the conservation of resources (COR) theory. Coping strategies, coping self-efficacy, religiousness and social support are very important personal resources, which have been found to protect individuals from psychological distress. The aim of the present study was to examine the predictive values of socio-demographic and illness-related variables, perceived social support, ways of coping, religiousness, arthritis self-efficacy and resource loss for psychological distress in a sample of 117 RA patients from Turkey, a secular, Islamic, non-western developing country. The results revealed that RA patients experience considerable anxiety and depressive symptoms. The results of the regression analysis showed that gender, helplessness coping and resource loss are significant predictors of anxiety, whereas arthritis self-efficacy and resource loss are significant predictors of depression. Resource loss appeared as an important predictor for both anxiety and depression. This finding was consistent with the COR theory. The clinical implications of these findings are discussed.