Identification of modifiable work-related factors that influence the risk of work disability in rheumatoid arthritis

Arthritis Rheum. 2004 Oct 15;51(5):843-52. doi: 10.1002/art.20690.


Objective: To define work-related factors associated with increased risk of work disability (WD) in people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Methods: Questionnaires were mailed to all RA patients who used a province-wide arthritis treatment program between 1991 and 1998 (n = 1,824). The association between risk factors and WD (defined as no paid work due to RA for at least 6 months) was assessed using multiple logistic regression analysis, controlling for significant sociodemographic and disease-related variables.

Results: Of the original 1,824 patients, 581 were eligible and responded to the questionnaire. Work survival analysis revealed a steady rate of WD starting early, with 7.5%, 18%, and 27% work disabled at 1, 5, and 10 years, respectively. Significant determinants in multiple logistic regression were physical function (Health Assessment Questionnaire), pain (visual analog scale), and 6 work-related factors: self employment, workstation modification, work importance, family support toward employment, commuting difficulty, and comfort telling coworkers about RA.

Conclusion: Work disability occurs early in RA. Novel work-related factors were identified, which are potentially modifiable, to help RA patients stay employed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absenteeism
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Disabled Persons
  • Employment*
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychology
  • Retirement
  • Risk Factors
  • Self Efficacy
  • Sick Leave*
  • Social Support