Understanding employment transitions among people living with arthritis across the life course

Reasons for the study

In Canada, arthritis affects over 4.4 million people, 60 per cent of whom are under 65 years of age. Arthritis is also one of the most frequent causes of work disability. Few studies have taken a life-course approach to understanding how a person’s age, career phase and years of living with arthritis shape their involvement in employment, as well as their access to and use of job accommodations and health benefits. Using a life-course perspective, this study will help us understand the unique employment-related needs of people living with arthritis at different stages of their lives, including as young people and older adults. This study is part of a larger seven-year program of research and knowledge mobilization to enhance the quantity and quality of community participation among Canadians living with disabilities.

Objectives of the study

  • To compare the work experiences of young adults (ages 18-30 years), middle-aged adults (31-55 years) and older workers (55-plus years) with arthritis
  • To determine differences among these age groups in their needs, access to and use of workplace accommodations and benefits

Anticipated results/impact

The study will contribute to the application of life-course theory to the field of work and health. Its findings will also inform the planning and implementation of workplace policies and programs aimed at enhancing the employment participation of people living with arthritis at different life and career phases.

Related scientific publications

Jetha A, Gignac MA, Bowring J, Tucker S, Connelly CE, Proulx L, Martin Ginis KA. Supporting arthritis and employment across the life course: a qualitative study. Arthritis Care & Research. 2018;70(10):1461-1468. doi:10.1002/acr.23523.
Jetha A, Bowring J, Tucker S, Connelly CE, Martin Ginis KA, Proulx L, Gignac MA. Transitions that matter: life course differences in the employment of adults with arthritis. Disability and Rehabilitation. 2017 [epub ahead of print]. doi:10.1080/09638288.2017.1378387.

Related interviews and articles

Related research summaries

How workplace support needs differ for younger and older adults with chronic disease. Research Highlights: Institute for Work & Health, August 2018.

Related presentations

Project status

Completed 2017

Research team

Arif Jetha, Institute for Work & Health (PI)
Monique Gignac, Institute for Work & Health
Catherine Connelly, McMaster University
Kathleen Martin Ginis, University of British Columbia
Sean Tucker, University of Regina

Participating organizations

Canadian Arthritis Patient Alliance
Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work
March of Dimes
Neil Squire Society

Funded by

Canadian Disability Participation Project, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Partnership Grant