Work factors are associated with workplace activity limitations in systemic lupus erythematosus

Ali M.Al Dhanhani, Monique A.M. Gignac, Dorcas E. Beaton, Jiandong Su, Paul R. Fortin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Objective. The objective of this study was to examine the extent of workplace activity limitations among persons with lupus and to identify factors associated with activity limitations among those employed. Methods. We conducted a cross-sectional study using a mailed survey and clinical data of persons with lupus who attended a large lupus outpatient clinic. Data were collected on demographics, health, work factors and psychosocial measures. The workplace activity limitations scale (WALS) was used to measure difficulty related to different activities at work. Multivariable analysis examined the association of health, work context, psychosocial and demographic variables with workplace activity limitations. Results. We received 362 responses from 604 (60%) mailed surveys. Among those not employed, 52% reported not working because of lupus. A range of physical and mental tasks were reported as difficult. Each of the physical, cognitive and energy work activities was cited as difficult by more than one-third of participants. Among employed participants, 40% had medium to high WALS difficulty scores. In the multivariable analysis, factors significantly associated with workplace activity limitations were older age, greater disease activity, fatigue, poorer health status measured by the 36-item Short Form Health Survey, lower job control, greater job strain and working more than 40h/week. Conclusion. People with lupus experience limitations and difficulty at work. Determinants of workplace activity limitations are mainly those related to workplace and health factors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2044-2052
Number of pages9
JournalRheumatology (United Kingdom)
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Jul 28 2014


  • Disability
  • Lupus
  • Sle
  • Work
  • Work difficulties
  • Work limitations
  • Workplace

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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