Future Job Troubles for Arthritic Kids

Juvenile arthritis patients may have trouble staying employed later in life

(RxWiki News) For some patients, the pain of arthritis gets in the way of their job. If that's the case, children with arthritis may be faced with limited job opportunities as they get older.

As they enter adulthood, children with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (a childhood form of rheumatoid arthritis) may have fewer job opportunities than their healthy counterparts.

If patients are more educated, they may have a better chance of holding onto their jobs.

"Stay in school - it pays dividends."

Research has shown that early, aggressive drug treatment can reduce joint damage and improve outcomes for children with juvenile arthritis. Yet, as young arthritis patients grow older, many still grapple with disability that gets in the way of daily life.

"Despite effective treatment early on, some juvenile arthritis patients enter adulthood with joint damage, disability and lowered quality of life," said Dr. Ajay Malviya, a Consultant Orthopedic Surgeon at Newcastle upon Tyne NHS Foundation Trust in the UK and lead author of the current study.

"There are significantly higher rates of unemployment in adult juvenile arthritis patients compared to healthy counterparts, which remains poorly understood," he said.

For their research, Dr. Malviya and colleagues asked 103 participants about their educational achievement and employment status. Participants also received a questionnaire to assess disability.

Results from the study showed that employed adults with juvenile arthritis were less disabled than unemployed patients.

Better educated patients were less likely to be unemployed. Patients who completed high school were more successful later in life, getting more professional and managerial jobs.

The researchers also found that patients were more stable in their jobs when they were better educated and less disabled.

"Our study shows the impact of juvenile arthritis on various employment outcomes," said Dr. Malviya.

"Further research that helps patients to determine ideal career choices and take into account their disease activity is warranted," he said.

The study is published in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism.

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Review Date: 
July 1, 2012