Managing arthritis and employment: making arthritis-related work changes as a means of adaptation

Arthritis Rheum. 2004 Dec 15;51(6):909-16. doi: 10.1002/art.20822.


Objective: To understand arthritis-related workplace changes, including occasional work loss and changes to the type and hours of work, and the factors associated with them using theories of adaptation and behavior change as a framework.

Methods: Participants were 492 employed individuals with rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis. They completed an interview-administered, structured questionnaire assessing demographic, workplace, and psychosocial variables, as well as such work transitions as changes to the hours, type, and nature of work. Hypotheses were examined using multiple linear regression.

Results: Seventy percent of respondents made at least 1 work change. Younger participants and those with greater workplace activity limitations reported more changes. Work changes were associated with greater depression. A hypothesized 3-way interaction among people's perceptions of their capacity, their future job expectations, and whether they had told their employer about their arthritis was significant.

Conclusion: This study extends arthritis employment research by examining a range of work changes. It highlights the dynamic interplay among arthritis, workplace, and psychosocial variables to understand adaptation to arthritis disability.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / physiopathology*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / psychology
  • Employment*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoarthritis / physiopathology*
  • Osteoarthritis / psychology
  • Quality of Life*
  • Sickness Impact Profile
  • Social Adjustment*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Work Capacity Evaluation
  • Workload*
  • Workplace