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J Rheumatol. 2001 May;28(5):1077-82.

The contribution of arthritis and arthritis disability to nonparticipation in the labor force: a Canadian example.

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Arthritis Community Research and Evaluation Unit, Princess Margaret Hospital, University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.



To examine the factors affecting labor force participation and understand how arthritis affects labor force participation in a Canadian working population.


Data from the 1990 Ontario Health Survey population (n = 35,221) were used. Labor force participation was dichotomized as in the labor force and not in the labor force. Stratified logistic regression analyses by sex were carried out to identify factors associated with not being in the labor force, including arthritis, chronic disorders, and sociodemographic and family composition variables.


Overall, 6.7% of men and 23.0% of women were not in the labor force compared with 18.6% and 36.0%, respectively, of men and women with arthritis. After controlling for other covariates, disability caused by arthritis was significantly associated with increased risk of being out of the labor force, with odds ratios of 2.70 for men and 1.91 for women. Low education, pain, and nonarthritis disability were also significantly associated with being out of the labor force. The effects of age and family structure on employment were sex dependent. Women were at higher risk at all age groups. Men with dependent children were more likely to work, as were women who lived alone. For women, having dependent children increased the likelihood of not being in the labor force.


People with arthritis disability were more likely to be out of the labor force. It was not arthritis per se that limited people in labor force participation, but rather the arthritis disabilities.

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