The impact of arthritis on the educational and early work experiences of young people: a qualitative secondary analysis

Albert Farre (Lead / Corresponding author), Sara Ryan, Abigail McNiven, Janet E. McDonagh

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Introduction: Young people’s transition into adulthood is intertwined with the worlds of education and work. Poor health in adolescence has been associated with poorer education and employment outcomes in adulthood. This paper explores the impact of arthritis on the educational and early work experiences of young people with arthritis.

Methods: We undertook a supplementary secondary analysis of a qualitative dataset comprising narrative and semi-structured interviews of 39 young people who had been diagnosed with arthritis in childhood, adolescence or young adulthood.

Results: Our findings illustrate how young people living with arthritis are faced with a range of added disruptions and challenges in their educational/vocational lives. There is an important element of resilience associated with the process of making a career choice and acting upon personal aspirations. Appropriate support and flexibility in the workplace/educational setting can enable successful outcomes, but disclosure is not a straightforward process for young people living with arthritis.

Conclusions: It is paramount that health providers consistently and effectively address self-advocacy skills with the young person, particularly during educational and vocational transitions. Alongside this, there is the need to further strengthen the health-school/work interface to ensure that young people living with chronic illness can meet their full potential in adulthood.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health
Early online date9 Mar 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 Mar 2019



  • adolescents
  • arthritis
  • education and employment
  • qualitative research
  • young adults

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