Employment and work disability in adults with cystic fibrosis

J Cyst Fibros. 2012 Mar;11(2):137-43. doi: 10.1016/j.jcf.2011.10.008. Epub 2011 Nov 21.


Background: As a result of prolonged survival, more patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) participate in the labour force. The aim of this study was to evaluate their education, occupation levels and risk factors for work disability.

Method: 207 patients answered a self-administered questionnaire about their educational level and work status. Independently, medical records were reviewed for illness severity indicators.

Results: 39 patients (19%) were students, 117 (57%) were in the labour force, 13 (6%) were seeking employment and 38 (18%) were inactive. CF patients had a higher educational level and were more likely to hold skilled jobs and to work part time than the general population. FEV1 and educational level were the strongest predictive factors of disability.

Conclusion: Many CF patients have access to professional life. Their higher educational levels improve the chances of attaining employment, which highlights the need for career counselling. Working part time helps to maintain employment despite declining health.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Cystic Fibrosis* / physiopathology
  • Cystic Fibrosis* / therapy
  • Disabled Persons / statistics & numerical data*
  • Educational Status
  • Employment / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Volume
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Quality of Life
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult