Juvenile idiopathic arthritis may complicate employment in adulthood

July 9, 2012

Topic: Orthopaedics

Juvenile idiopathic arthritis may hurt one's employment prospects if it makes education attainment difficult.

The orthopaedics issues that juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) patients have to deal with may have a negative impact on their educational achievement, according to research published in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism.

About 294,000 individuals in the U.S. have JIA, a form of arthritis that affects people who are younger than 16. Researchers from the UK knew anecdotally that JIA was associated with lower rates of employment in adulthood. In order to understand why, they conducted a study that included more than 100 individuals, who had a median age of 24 and lived with JIA for about 19 years.

Results showed that job stability was positively affected by educational achievement and negatively impacted by functional disability score. This may be because more severe JIA symptoms can potentially hurt one's academic career.

Other results showed that study participants who were able to earn a secondary education certificate were more likely to be placed in professional or managerial jobs than those who did not.

"Our study shows the impact of JIA on various employment outcomes," said researcher Ajay Malviya, an orthopaedic surgeon. "Further research that helps patients to determine ideal career choices and take into account their disease activity is warranted."

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