To assess employment status, difficulties at work and sick leave in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients and their relation with sociodemographic and clinical factors, quality of life (QoL), and anxiety and depression.
Materials and methods
IBD patients attending an IBD outpatients' clinic received self-report questionnaires on employment status, IBD-related difficulties at work and sick leave (Trimbos/iMTA questionnaire for Costs associated with Psychiatric Illness), sociodemographic factors, QoL (Inflammatory Bowel Disease Questionnaire and 12-item Short-form Health Survey) and anxiety and depression (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale). Disease activity was assessed by their gastroenterologist. Associations between paid employment and sick leave with sociodemographic and clinical factors, QoL and anxiety and depression were assessed by regression analyses.
In total, 202 IBD patients of working age, with a mean age of 41 years, participated; 63% had Crohn's disease and 37% had ulcerative colitis, and 57% were women and 19% had active disease. In all, 123 (61%) patients were in paid employment, of whom 31 (25%) were on sick leave, whereas 46 (23%) received a disability pension. Concentration problems (72%), low working pace (78%) and delayed work production (50%) were the most prevalent IBD-related work difficulties. IBD patients without paid employment were older and more often women, with active disease, lower QoL and higher anxiety and depression rates. Sick leave was associated with lower QoL and higher anxiety and depression rates.
More than half of IBD patients were in paid employment, whereas almost a quarter was receiving a disability pension. A large majority experienced work difficulties. Having no paid employment was associated with poorer QoL and more anxiety and depression symptomatology.