Objective: To examine the impact of ankylosing spondylitis (AS) on work disability, nonparticipation in the labor force, marriage, divorce, and childbearing.
Methods: In this cross-sectional survey, we asked AS patients (n = 591, 72.8% men, mean age 48.9 years) from the Los Angeles, Houston, San Francisco, and Washington, DC metropolitan areas about work and family life. The proportion of patients who were work disabled, did not participate in the labor force, had never been married, were divorced, or had a biological child were compared with the proportions expected for each outcome based on data from population surveys.
Results: Patients with AS were more likely to be work disabled (13.3% versus 5.7%; P < 0.0001) and somewhat more likely to not participate in the labor force compared with the proportion expected (25.1% versus 21.8%; P = 0.07). These associations were stronger among patients age > or =45 years and those with AS for > or =20 years. AS patients were more likely than expected to have never been married (22.8% versus 15.4%; P < 0.0001) or to be divorced (13.2% versus 10.0%; P = 0.02). Women with AS were less likely than expected to have had children (54.7% versus 64.9%; P = 0.02), but the proportion of men with AS who had children was not different from that of the general population.
Conclusion: Patients with AS in this study were more likely to have never been married, more likely to be divorced, and more than twice as likely to be work disabled than members of the general population. Women with AS were also less likely to have had children than women in the general population.