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Working ability in relation to disease severity, everyday occupations and well-being in women with limited systemic sclerosis.

By Gunnel Sandqvist, Agneta Scheja and Mona Eklund


Objective. To investigate how women with SSc and varying degrees of working ability differed regarding disease severity, everyday occupations and well-being. Working ability was operationalized according to the degree of sick leave. Methods. Forty-four women of working age with lcSSc were assessed regarding sociodemographic characteristics, disease severity including organ manifestation, perceived physical symptoms, hand function, and satisfaction with everyday occupations, self-rated health and well-being. Results. The subjects formed three groups with regard to reduction in working capacity. Twenty-one women (48%) had no sick leave, 15 women (34%) were on partial sick leave and eight women (18%) were temporarily on full-time sick leave or had a full disability pension. There were no statistically significant differences concerning sociodemographics between the groups. Women without sick leave had less physically demanding jobs (P = 0.026), and the hypothesis that working ability reflects lower disease severity was confirmed regarding dexterity grip force and perceived fatigue and breathlessness (P < 0.05). Greater working ability was associated with better capacity to perform activities of daily life (P < 0.01), greater satisfaction with occupations (P < 0.01), better well-being (P < 0.001) and better health (P < 0.001). Conclusions. Fifty per cent of the women were restricted in their working ability; the lower the working ability, the lower their perceived well-being. This emphasizes the need for further research into the factors that promote working ability and the development of suitable methods to improve working ability

Topics: Rheumatology and Autoimmunity
Publisher: 'Oxford University Press (OUP)'
Year: 2008
DOI identifier: 10.1093/rheumatology/ken359
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