Educational and occupational outcomes among young adults with juvenile idiopathic arthritis

Authors


  • Presented in part at the Great Lakes Regional Conference on Child Health, Cincinnati, OH, April 2007.

Abstract

Objective

To examine educational and occupational outcomes among young adults with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) and peers during the transition from adolescence to emerging adulthood.

Methods

Families were recruited when children with JIA were 8–14 years old. At that time, each child with JIA was matched to a classmate of similar age, sex, and race for inclusion in a comparison group. For the current followup (12.64 years postdiagnosis), 45 participants with JIA, 46 peers, and their parents completed questionnaires soon after the young person's 18th birthday. Disease type and severity were rated by health care providers.

Results

Young adults with JIA and peers were similar on a variety of factors, including family background, scholastic and occupational self-concept, and academic competence. The proportion of participants who graduated from high school, were working, and expressed plans to attend postsecondary education or seek employment was similar between groups. Disease type, initial severity, and time since diagnosis were generally not associated with indices of educational and occupational attainment.

Conclusion

Despite the challenge of having a chronic illness, young adults with JIA were similar to peers on numerous educational and occupational outcomes during the transition from adolescence to emerging adulthood. Interventions to assist academic or occupational functioning may not be necessary for all children with JIA, but additional research is needed to identify subgroups at risk for long-term difficulties.

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