Article Details

Research Database: Article Details

Citation:  Gignac, M.A.M., Badley, E.M., Lacaille, D., Cott, C.C., Adam, P., & Anis, A.H. (2004). Managing arthritis and employment: Making arthritis related work changes as a means of adaptation. Arthritis Care and Research, 51 (6), 909-916.
Title:  Managing arthritis and employment: Making arthritis related work changes as a means of adaptation
Authors:  Gignac, M.A.M., Badley, E.M., Lacaille, D., Cott, C.C., Adam, P., & Anis, A.H.
Year:  2004
Journal/Publication:  Arthritis Care and Research
Publisher:  American College of Rheumatology
Full text:   
Peer-reviewed?  Yes
NIDILRR-funded?  Not reported
Research design:  Qualitative research

Structured abstract:

Background:  Individuals with arthritis may leave work due to disability and pain. Research shows that people with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis often report comparable indirect costs of illness. In addition, they rarely initiate accommodations at work. They also report large differences in the number of sick days. Factors associated with job retention may be related to age and work characteristics, rather than disability. Little is known about the strategies individuals with arthritis use to retain employment. More research is needed.
Purpose:  The purpose of this study was to look at ways people change their work to manage arthritis. It also examined employment factors associated with those changes.
Setting:  This is a longitudinal study. The participants lived and worked in various places.
Study sample:  The study included 492 individuals with arthritis who were employed. There were 383 women and 109 men. Most were aged 51 years or older and over half were married. Participants had arthritis for 9 years on average. These individuals worked in a wide variety of occupations (i.e. business, finance, health , science, sales, trades etc...) and earned on average $40,000 per year. The group reported various types of arthritis related work challenges. The majority or 68% reported his or her employer had knowledge about the condition and 86% did not anticipate leaving the job.
Intervention:  There was no intervention.
Control or comparison condition:  Participants served as there own controls.
Data collection and analysis:  Participants were interviewed using a structured questionnaire during the first phase of a three year longitudinal study. Questions were related to demographics, arthritis type, duration of illness, occupation, employer knowledge of disability, nature of work activity, limitations at work, future job expectations, changed capacity and goals, depression, and work transition. Each interview took around two hours. Variable frequencies, means and standard deviations were computed. Standard multiple linear regression looked at the relationship of people's total number of work transitions and the independent variables. The data was analyzed using a statistical package for the Social Sciences (Version 11).
Findings:  Respondents were more likely to report occasional lost work hours than permanent decreases in hours or changes to their type of work. Those who reported more work transitions also reported more depressive symptoms. Age was associated with work transitions. Younger workers reported more. There are many complex variables associated with work changes. Among those who expected to leave work, more work changes were reported. Differences in work changes related to future expectations among those who had not told the employer about the condition and those who perceived little impact from it.
Conclusions:  This study extended existing research. There is a dynamic interplay between the limitations individuals with arthritis report, their perceptions, and the role that others like their employers play in changes at work.

Disabilities served:  Arthritis
Populations served:  Gender: Female and Male