Supporting arthritis and employment across the life course: a qualitative study

Publication type
Journal article
Jetha A, Gignac MA, Bowring J, Tucker S, Connelly CE, Proulx L, Martin Ginis KA
Date published
2018 Mar 23
Arthritis Care & Research
Open Access?

OBJECTIVE: To examine the need, availability and use of formal and informal workplace resources, and uncover differences across the life course for adults with arthritis. METHOD: Focus groups and interviews were conducted with young (ages 18 to 34 years, n = 7), middle-aged (ages 35 to 54 years, n = 13) and older adults (>55 years, n = 25) living with inflammatory arthritis, osteoarthritis, or other rheumatic disease diagnosis. Participants were asked about their employment experiences, formal and informal workplace resource needs, and availability and usage of workplace resources. Differences based on chronological, functional, psychosocial, organizational and lifespan dimensions of age were examined. A modified grounded theory approach was used to inductively analyze the data. RESULTS: Young, middle-aged, and older adult participants required similar workplace resources. Across all participants, scheduling modifications tended to be the most needed workplace resource. In contrast, the perceived availability and usage of formal workplace resources differed among participants. Young adult participants and those who were newer to their jobs reported that workplace resource needs were less available and utilized. Middle- and older-aged adults reported greater availability of workplace resources. Scheduling accommodations and at-work modifications were the most used workplace resources among middle- and older-aged adults, respectively. CONCLUSION: Similar workplace resources could meet the employment needs of people with arthritis across the life course. Attention should be paid to young adults and those who are new to their job because they may perceive more barriers to accessing formal workplace resources and be susceptible to work disability. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved