Identification of modifiable work-related factors that influence the risk of work disability in rheumatoid arthritis

Authors: Latimer, E. A., Lecomte, T., Becker, D. R., Drake, R, E., Duclos, I., Piat, M., Lahaie, N., St-Pierre, M. S., Therrien, C., & Xie, H.
Year Published 2004
Publication Arthritis Care & Research
Volume 51
Number 5
Pages 843-852
Publisher American College of Rheumatology

Work disability is a common consequence of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). This is particularly significant because RA affects individuals during their prime working years and had major financial implications for the individual and society at large.


To define work-related factors associated with increased risk of work disability (WD) in people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).


The setting was the Arthritis Society, British Columbia and Yukon division.


A total of 581 individuals answered the questionnaire.

Data Collection

Questionnaires were mailed to all RA patients who used a province-wide arthritis treatment program between 1991 and 1998 (n = 1,824). The association between risk factors and WD ( as no paid work due to RA for at least 6 months) was assessed using multiple logistic regression analysis, controlling for significant sociodemographic and disease-related variables.


There was no control or comparison condition.


Work survival analysis revealed a steady rate of WD starting early, with 7.5%, 18%, and 27% work disabled at 1, 5, and 10 years, respectively. Significant determinants in multiple logistic regression were physical function (Health Assessment Questionnaire), pain (visual analog scale), and 6 work-related factors: self employment, workstation modification, work importance, family support toward employment, commuting difficulty, and comfort telling coworkers about RA.


Work disability occurs early in RA. Novel work-related factors were identified, which are potentially modifiable, to help RA patients stay employed.

Populations Male & Female
Outcomes Employment acquisition
Research Design Mixed methods
Peer Reviewed Yes