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AAWL Affects Quality of Life

al studies. The information was collected by self-report, which may reflect recall bias, and the presence of arthritis was not confirmed by a health professional; it may be difficult to attribute work limitation to arthritis, especially if the person is suffering from multiple chronic conditions; the wording of the questionnaire did not distinguish between those who could not work and those whose work was simply affected in some way.

Nonetheless the size of the study enabled the authors to develop US national prevalence estimates for AAWL, the results of which can be used as a benchmark for future studies and to help monitor progress in reducing the number of people with AAWL. In addition, by identifying characteristics associated with AAWL, the study may be useful in developing timely interventions for those at risk of work disability. This could have a major impact not just on these individuals, but on society at large. Indirect costs of arthritis have been estimated at $35.1 billion for 1997, and the authors note that "protecting workers from disability, injury, and prolonged negative effects of illness makes simple social and economic sense."

The authors note that future research on public health and arthritis management could address what types of work people with arthritis are unable to do, which groups are more affected and why, and how interventions can be tested, targeted and delivered. They point out that describing and addressing work limitations is an important part of preventing disability. They conclude, "This initial characterization of AAWL will aid in informing research and the development and evaluation of interventions to decrease work limitation experienced by individuals with arthritis."

Arthritis-attributable work limitation affects nearly 7 million U.S. adults, disproportionately affects minority groups, and presents opportunities to reduce arthritis impact by implementing effective interventions to prese
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