Seminar Presentation 7-1

7-1 (Presentation within Topical Seminar 7):
Arthritis in the early career phase: A transitional perspective to understanding work disability

Presented by: Arif Jetha


Jetha A1

  1. Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety, Hopkinton, MA, USA



Employment is an important milestone of the transition to adulthood. Arthritis may limit a young person’s ability to find paid work as well as be productive in the workplace. The objective of this study is to describe work disability experienced by young adults (ages 18-30 years) with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and juvenile arthritis (JA). In particular, the impact of disease, psychosocial and work factors on employment status, disease-related absenteeism and job disruptions will be examined.


One hundred and forty three participants (Mean age = 23.3, SD = 3.5) with SLE (54.5%) and JA (44.5%) were recruited from clinics in four Canadian provinces. All completed an online questionnaire asking about health (e.g., pain, fatigue, disease activity), psychosocial (e.g., independence and overprotection) and work context factors (e.g., need for job accommodations, job strain, work-health conflict). Information on employment status, absenteeism (# of days) and number of job disruptions (e.g., work interruptions, arriving late/leaving early, missed meetings) was collected. Multivariable log-Poisson analyses examined factors associated with each work outcome.


61% of the sample was employed, 26% were students and 13% were not working. Respondents indicated having a well-managed health condition and moderate perceived independence and overprotection. Involvement in employment was associated with greater independence (PR = 1.30, 95%CI 1.00-1.60) and less need for job accommodations (PR = 0.91, 95%CI 0.88-0.95). 56.5% of participants reported disease-related absenteeism in the previous 6 months. Greater job control (PR = 1.20, 95%CI 1.00-1.50) and less severe fatigue (PR = .90, 95%CI 0.82-0.99) were related to greater likelihood of reporting absenteeism. 53% reported at least one disease-related job disruption. Greater work-health conflict was related to a greater likelihood of reporting a job disruption (PR = 1.5, 95%CI 1.10-2.10).


For young adults with arthritis, work disability can be minimized by encouraging independence and providing accommodations that enable a person to balance their work and health. At the early phase of their careers, young people might also access missed workdays as an adaptive strategy to manage health.