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Young Adults With Arthritis More Likely to Be Workers, Not Students

Christina Mattina
A survey of young adults revealed that those with arthritis reported significantly higher rates of employment and lower rates of education participation than their peers without arthritis.
A survey of young adults revealed that those with arthritis reported significantly higher rates of employment and lower rates of education participation than their peers without arthritis.

Using the National Health Interview Survey, researchers from the Institute for Work and Health collected responses from 18 to 29 year olds, some of whom had been diagnosed with arthritis. The survey questions asked about current working status, educational attainment and current participation, marital status, self-rated health, perceived restrictions or limitations, and gender.

According to the survey results published in Arthritis Care & Research, the participants with arthritis were more likely to be female and married. Of these young adults with arthritis, 19.6% rated their health as fair or poor, compared to just 4.2% of those without arthritis. They also were more likely to report social participation restrictions and functional limitations.

Although educational attainment was similar between the two groups, the participants with arthritis were half as likely to report current participation in education. For respondents aged 18 to 23, education participation rates were 12% among those with arthritis and 21.1% among those without. There was no significant difference in education participation rates among the participants aged 24 to 29.

After controlling for covariates, the researchers found that young people diagnosed with arthritis reported significantly higher rates of employment participation, both within the total sample and for the subgroup aged 18 to 23. Additional stratified analysis found the strongest association between arthritis diagnosis and higher employment participation among the young adults aged 18 to 23 who reported higher self-ratings of their health. No significant association was found between an arthritis diagnosis and employment for those aged 24 to 29.

“Results could indicate that young adults with arthritis may transition into the labor market at an earlier age,” the study authors wrote. “To inform the design of interventions that promote employment participation, there is a need for future research to better understand the educational and employment experiences of young adults with arthritis.”

 
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