Research/studies Worker health and wellness

Study links rheumatoid arthritis to work absence


Photo: SANSA Images

Horsham, PA – Employees who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis are 30 percent more likely to miss work than those who do not have the disorder, according to a recent study from pharmaceutical company Janssen Scientific Affairs.

Researchers analyzed national health survey data from 1996 to 2006 to determine how rheumatoid arthritis affected work absences. Sixty-seven percent of rheumatoid arthritis sufferers had missed work days. Meanwhile, the average work absence for those with the disease was 14 days per year.

According to the study, rheumatoid arthritis sufferers are more likely to miss work if they are:

  • Female
  • Younger than 45
  • In a job that provides sick pay
  • Employed in an office or manufacturing setting
  • Afflicted by at least one other chronic disease

Researchers said the findings could help employers identify and support workers who have rheumatoid arthritis, as well as avoid costs associated with absenteeism and high turnover rates.

The study was published in the June edition of Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.