Work participation and arthritis: a systematic overview of challenges, adaptations and opportunities for interventions

Jan L. Hoving, Myra C. B. van Zwieten, Marrit van der Meer, Judith K. Sluiter, Monique H. W. Frings-Dresen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Understanding the factors that play a role in maintaining people with inflammatory arthritis in the workforce may aid the design of interventions to support work participation. The objective of this systematic overview is to summarize qualitative studies that explore experiences of patients with inflammatory arthritis to remain employed or return to work. Bibliographic databases including MEDLINE, EMBASE and PsycInfo were searched until December 2011 to identify any qualitative studies that focused on experiences, challenges or adaptations of patients with inflammatory arthritis to remain employed. Thematic analyses were used to identify any first or higher order themes for which all data were entered into MAXQDA software. In addition, methodological quality was assessed using an eight-item checklist. Of 6338 citations, 10 studies were included. RA was the condition in eight studies. Individual interviews (six studies) were used more frequently than group interviews (four studies). Methodological quality varied from 2 to 8 points and had no effect on the number of themes identified. Thematic analyses showed seven key concepts important to patients, including disease symptoms, management of the disease, socioeconomic issues, work conditions and adaptations, emotional challenges, interpersonal issues affecting work and family life and meaning of work. By including studies from different countries and settings, we show a comprehensive overview of themes considered important by patients and strengthen our belief that these factors should be considered in interventions that aim to improve work participation for patients with inflammatory arthritis
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1254-1264
JournalRheumatology (Oxford, England)
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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