Working status among Dutch patients with rheumatoid arthritis: Work disability and working conditions

S. M M Verstappen, A. Boonen, J. W J Bijlsma, E. Buskens, H. Verkleij, Y. Schenk, G. A. van Albada-Kuipers, D. M. Hofman, J. W G Jacobs

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Objectives. To assess work disability and variables associated with work disability among Dutch patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Methods. A questionnaire on working status was filled out by 296 patients of working age. Employment and work disability rates adjusted for age and sex from the Dutch population were determined using indirect standardization. Cox proportional hazard analysis was used to assess baseline predictors of work disability in a subgroup of patients (n=195). Results. After a mean disease duration of 4.3 yr, patients had a 0.78 (95% CI 0.67-0.88) chance of being employed and a 2.14 (95% CI 1.75-2.54) risk of being work disabled when compared with the Dutch population. Functional disability and job type at the start of the disease were predictors of future work disability. In total, 48 (37%) currently employed patients had changed their working conditions, of which reduced working hours (46%), reduced pacing of work (42%) and help from colleagues (49%) were the most important alterations. Of the 60 work disabled patients without a paid job, only 11 patients (18%) would be willing to work again. Conclusion. This study shows that the adjusted employment rates were lower and that work disability rates were higher in patients with RA when compared with the general Dutch population. In addition, a substantial number of employed patients had to change their working conditions due to RA. Only a minority of work disabled RA patients was willing to return to the paid labour force. © British Society for Rheumatology 2004; all rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)202-206
    Number of pages4
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2005


    • Disability
    • Employment
    • Rheumatoid arthritis


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