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February/March 2009 (vol. 05/5)

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Research Plus

Arthritis and return to work

A prospective cohort study carried out in the Netherlands on workers with early inflammatory joint conditions – such as rheumatoid arthritis – found that high levels of pain, poor physical functioning and frequent manual handling were significant predictors of sick leave. Poor physical functioning, intermediate pain, poor mental health, and low support from colleagues predicted reduced work productivity. Supervisors were less likely than other workers to take sick leave. A total of 210 patients, aged 18–65 and in paid employment, were included in the study, with data on 186 available after 12 months. Medical interventions should target pain and physical functioning as well as disease activity, while workplace interventions should aim to reduce physical workload and improve social support.

Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Health 2008; 34(6): 420–429. http://www.sjweh.fi/show_abstract.php?abstract_id=1298

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Occupational Health at Work February/March 2009 (vol. 05/5) pp40