Correlates of formal work disability in an urban university systemic lupus erythematosus practice

Tammy O. Utset, Saima Chohan, Stephanie A. Booth, Janelle C. Laughlin, Masha Kocherginsky, Amanda Schmitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Objective. Work disability in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) has been sparsely studied. We sought to determine the demographic, disease-specific, and psychological features associated with work disability in patients with SLE at our medical center. Methods. Ambulatory patients with SLE were enrolled in a cross-sectional study. Data collected by standardized interview, examination, questionnaire, and chart review were compared between formally work-disabled and never-disabled subjects. Multivariate logistic regression with outcome of formal work disability was then performed, using significant variables on univariate analysis. Results. One hundred thirty-two of 143 subjects were working or students at time of SLE diagnosis. After a mean of 9.2 years' disease duration, 42.7% reported formal work disability due to SLE. On univariate analysis, lower education, African American ethnicity, marital status, and high disease activity and damage scores were associated with increased prevalence of work disability. Work type did not affect risk of work disability. Work-disabled subjects had more severe pain, fatigue, depression, and anxiety. On multivariate logistic regression, damage, African American ethnicity, and fatigue were associated with formal work disability, while global pain had a marginal association. Conclusion. Formal work disability was highly prevalent in SLE, occurring in 42.7% of subjects. Disease damage, global pain, and fatigue were independently associated with formal work disability status on multivariate logistic regression. Premorbid work types did not strikingly influence rates of work disability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1046-1052
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Rheumatology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2008


  • Demographics
  • Disability
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus
  • Work

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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