Experiences of employment amongst young people with juvenile idiopathic arthritis: a qualitative study

H Hanson, Ruth Isla Hart, J E McDonagh, R B Tattersall, A Jordan, H E Foster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: This study explored expectations and experiences of employment amongst youngpeople with JIAjuvenile idiopathic arthritis, and the role of health professionals in promotingpositive employment outcomes.Methods: Semi-structured interviews (n=13) and three focus groups (n=9,n=4,n=3) wereconducted with young people (16-25y) and adults (26-31y) with juvenile idiopathic arthritis JIAand semi-structured interviews (n=9) were conducted with health professionals. Transcripts wereanalysed thematically.Results: Young people with juvenile idiopathic arthritisJIA have concerns about employers’attitudes towards employees with long-term health conditions and lack knowledge of antidiscriminationlegislation. Young people not in education, employment or training identifyarthritisJIA as a key barrier. Challenges associated with JIA arthritis (e.g. pain, psychologicaldistress) may not be visible to employers. Decisions about disclosing arthritisJIA are challengingand cause anxiety. Young people associate good disease management and access to flexible andconvenient care with their capacity to succeed in employment. Psycho-social and vocationalinterventions have benefited some young people, but are not routinely available.Conclusions: Low expectations of employers may affect young people’s decisions aboutdisclosure and seeking appropriate support in the work place. Health professionals can equipyoung people with knowledge and skills to negotiate appropriate support, through signposting to Young people, employment and arthritis. 2anti-discrimination information and offering practice of transferable skills such as disclosure inconsultations.
Original languageEnglish
JournalDisability and rehabilitation
Publication statusPublished - 13 May 2017


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