Good Jobs for Good Students with Arthritis

Juvenile idiopathic arthritis patients with more success in high school may have better jobs

(RxWiki News) Juvenile arthritis develops in children. But children eventually grow older, and their arthritis won't always go away. As the years pass, does juvenile arthritis make it hard to get a job?

Children with arthritis who get better grades in high school may have better jobs and more job stability later in life.

However, disability from arthritis can make it harder to get and hold a job.

"Hit the books now - get a good job later."

Some patients find that the pain and disability of juvenile arthritis can make it hard to do their job in the workplace. These patients may have trouble holding a job. For some, the condition may keep them from getting a job in the first place.

Doing well in school may ease some of these workplace troubles and barriers to employment, according to findings from Ajay Malviya, MRCS, FRCS, of Wansbeck General Hospital in the UK, and colleagues.

The researchers found that juvenile idiopathic arthritis patients with jobs had lower disability scores (as measured by the Health Assessment Questionnaire Disability Index, or HAQ DI) than those without jobs.

The HAQ DI is a questionnaire that measures patients' level of disability.

In addition, patients with a certain type of juvenile arthritis - called oligoarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis - were less disabled than those with other types of juvenile arthritis.

Juvenile arthritis patients with better grades in high school were more likely to get a good type of job later in life. That is, children who were more successful in high school were more likely to get professional or managerial job positions.

Getting a job is difficult enough; holding onto that job while dealing with the pain of arthritis can be even harder.

While patients who were more successful in school had better job stability, patients with higher disability scores had worse job stability.

Even though all children should work hard to do well in school, these findings suggest that success in school is even more important for children with juvenile arthritis. These patients may face disability as adults, making it more difficult to find or hold a job. Success in school could improve patients' chances of holding onto a fulfilling job.

The study included 103 adults with juvenile idiopathic arthritis.

Study co-author Helen E. Foster, MD, FRCP, of Newcastle University, has received honoraria and support from Genzyme, Biomarin and Pfizer.

The study was published August 27 in Arthritis & Rheumatism, a journal of the American College of Rheumatology.

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Review Date: 
September 4, 2012