Unpacking Early Work Experiences of Young Adults With Rheumatic Disease: An Examination of Absenteeism, Job Disruptions, and Productivity Loss Academic Article uri icon

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  • ObjectiveTo examine work absenteeism, job disruptions, and perceived productivity loss and factors associated with each outcome in young adults living with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and juvenile arthritis (JA).MethodsOne hundred forty‐three young adults, ages 18–30 years with SLE (54.5%) and JA (45.5%), completed an online survey of work experiences. Demographic, health (e.g., fatigue, disease activity), psychosocial (e.g., independence, social support), and work context (e.g., career satisfaction, job control, self‐disclosure) information was collected. Participants were asked about absenteeism, job disruptions, and perceived productivity loss in the last 6 months. Log Poisson regression analyses examined factors associated with work outcomes.ResultsA majority of participants (59%) were employed and reported a well‐managed health condition. Employed respondents were satisfied with their career progress and indicated moderate job control. More than 40% of participants reported absenteeism, job disruptions, and productivity loss. Greater job control and self‐disclosure, and less social support, were related to a higher likelihood of absenteeism. More disease activity was related to a greater likelihood of reporting job disruptions. Lower fatigue and higher job control were associated with a reduced likelihood of a productivity loss.ConclusionYoung adult respondents with rheumatic disease experienced challenges with employment, including absenteeism, job disruptions, and productivity loss. While related to greater absenteeism, job control could play a role in a young person's ability to manage their health condition and sustain productive employment. Greater attention should also be paid to understanding health factors and social support in early work experiences.


  • Jetha, Arif
  • Badley, Elizabeth
  • Beaton, Dorcas
  • Fortin, Paul R
  • Shiff, Natalie J
  • Gignac, Monique AM

publication date

  • September 2015