This systematic review assessed which variables are associated with or are predictors for work participation outcomes in patients with systematic lupus erythematosus (SLE).

A literature search using MEDLINE, The Cochrane Library, Embase and CINAHL was conducted to identify all studies published from inception (1947) to June 2021 on factors related to and/or predicting employment status, absenteeism and/or presenteeism in SLE patients aged ≥18 years. The quality of included articles was assessed using the QUIPS tool. Narrative summaries were used to present the data.

Fifteen studies (nine on associations, four on predictions, and two assessing both) were included, encompassing data of 3800 employed patients. Younger age, Caucasian ethnicity, higher educational level, lower disease activity score, shorter disease duration, absence of specific disease manifestations, higher levels of physical functioning and less physical job demands and higher levels of psychological/cognitive functioning were associated with or predicted favorable work outcomes. Older age, non-Caucasian ethnicity, female gender, never being married, poverty, lower educational level, higher disease activity score, longer disease duration, specific disease manifestations, lower levels of physical functioning, more physical job demands and low job control, less job tenure and lower levels of cognitive functioning were associated with or predicted an unfavorable work outcome. Limitations of the evidence were the quality of the studies and the use of heterogeneous outcome measures, applied statistical methods and instruments used to assess work participation.

We recommend applying the EULAR points to consider for designing, analysing and reporting on work participation in inflammatory arthritis also to SLE studies on work participation, to enhance the quality and comparability between studies and to better understand the impact of SLE on work participation.

Trial registration
registration in PROSPERO (CRD42020161275; https://www.crd.york.ac.uk/prospero/display_record.php?RecordID=161275).
Original languageEnglish
JournalRheumatology (Oxford, England)
Publication statusPublished - 18 Nov 2021


  • systemic lupus erythematosus, prediction, work participation, absenteeism, presenteeism, employment

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