Work productivity in scleroderma: Analysis from the University of California, Los Angeles scleroderma quality of life study




To examine the productivity of patients with scleroderma (systemic sclerosis [SSc]) both outside of and within the home in a large observational cohort.


One hundred sixty-two patients completed the Work Productivity Survey. Patients indicated whether or not they were employed outside of the home, how many days per month they missed work (employment or household work) due to SSc, and how many days per month productivity was decreased by ≥50%. Patients also completed other patient-reported outcome measures. We developed binomial regression models to assess the predictors of days missed from work (paid employment or household activities). The covariates included: type of SSc, education, physician and patient global assessments, Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ) disability index (DI), Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy–Fatigue, and Center of Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale Short Form.


The mean age of patients was 51.8 years and 52% had limited cutaneous SSc. Of the 37% of patients employed outside of the home, patients reported missing 2.6 days per month of work and had 2.5 days per month of productivity reduced by half. Of the 102 patients who were not employed, 39.4% were unable to work due to their SSc. When we assessed patients for household activities (n = 162), patients missed an average of 8 days of housework per month and had productivity reduced by an average of 6 days per month. In the regression models, patients with lower education and poor assessment of overall health by a physician were more likely to miss work outside of the home. Patients with limited cutaneous SSc and high HAQ DI scores were more likely to miss work at home.


SSc has a major impact on productivity at home and at work. Nearly 40% of patients reported disability due to their SSc.