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Employment, work disability, and work days lost in patients with ankylosing spondylitis: a cross sectional study of Dutch patients

Abstract

OBJECTIVE To evaluate employment status, work disability, and work days lost in patients with ankylosing spondylitis (AS).

METHODS A questionnaire was sent to 709 patients with AS aged 16–60. The results of 658 of the patients could be analysed.

RESULTS After adjustment for age, labour force participation was decreased by 15.4% in male patients and 5.2% in female patients compared with the general Dutch population. Work disability (all causes) was 15.7% and 16.9% higher than expected in the general population for male and female patients respectively. In particular, the proportion of those with a partial work disability pension was increased. Patients with a paid job lost 5.0% of work days as the result of having AS, accounting for a mean of 10.1 days of sick leave due to AS per patient per year in addition to the national average of 12.3 unspecified days of sick leave.

CONCLUSION This study on work status in AS provides data adjusted for age and sex, and the differences from the reference population were significant. The impact of AS on employment and work disability is considerable. Work status in patients with AS needs more attention as an outcome measure in future research.

  • employment
  • work
  • disability
  • ankylosing spondylitis
  • spondyloarthropathy

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