The impact of arthritis on the early employment experiences of young adults: A literature review
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BACKGROUND: Young adulthood is an important transitional life phase that can determine a person's career trajectory. To date, little research has examined the influence of arthritis on early work experiences. OBJECTIVES: This literature review aims at examining the impact of arthritis on the early career phase of young adults and identifying the barriers to employment. METHODS: Two independent reviewers searched bibliographic databases for arthritis conditions and a series of employment-related keywords and subject headings. Information on authors, publication year; study design, sample characteristics (e.g., number of participants, age, gender, arthritis type); work outcomes measured; and specific barriers to employment was recorded. RESULTS: Nine studies were uncovered in the review. All studies examined young people with juvenile arthritis (9 of 9 studies) and consisted of sample sizes with less then 150 participants (6 of 9 studies) who were primarily recruited from clinics (7 of 9 studies). All were cross-sectional designs. Employment status was primarily examined and ranged from 11% to 71%. Although not always statistically significant, young adults with arthritis were less likely to be employed when compared to their healthy peers. Greater disease severity, less educational attainment and being female were related to not participating in paid work. CONCLUSION: This review brings to light the paucity of studies examining the early employment experiences of young adults with arthritis. There is a need to expand research to contribute to recommendations for sustained and productive employment across the working life course.
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