Objective: To examine the association between socioeconomic status (SES) and delay to a pediatric rheumatology clinic, disease severity, and illness perception in patients with juvenile idiopathic arthritis in England.
Methods: Using the Index of Multiple Deprivation, 923 consecutive children from the Childhood Arthritis Prospective Study were assigned to SES groups: high-SES (19.1%), middle-SES (44.5%), or low-SES (36.4%). At baseline, disease activity was assessed, and the Childhood Health Assessment Questionnaire (C-HAQ), the Illness Perception Questionnaire, and the Child Health Questionnaire, version Parent Form 50, were completed. Linear median regression analyses or zero-inflated negative binominal (ZINB) regression analyses were used.
Results: Delay to first pediatric rheumatology consultation was the same between the 3 SES groups. Although disease activity scores assessed by the pediatric rheumatologist did not differ between the 3 SES groups, persons in the low-SES group recorded higher C-HAQ scores compared to the high-SES group (zero-inflated part of ZINB odds ratio 0.28 [95% confidence interval (95% CI) 0.14, 0.55], count part of ZINB β 0.26 [95% CI 0.05, 0.48]). Parents with low SES also reported more often that their children's school work or activities with friends had been limited. Furthermore, the low-SES group had a worse perception about the consequences of the disease and the effect of treatment than those in the high-SES group.
Conclusion: Patients from a low-SES background report more problems with daily activities and have a lower perception of the consequences of the disease than patients from a high-SES background, warranting special attention from a multidisciplinary team.
Copyright © 2015 by the American College of Rheumatology.