Work Disability in Psoriatic Arthritis

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


Psoriatic arthritis is an inflammatory arthritis affecting a fifth of patients with skin psoriasis. Inflammation of the joints and tendons causes pain, stiffness, reduced function and disability. Work disability is increasingly recognised as an important, patient centred, functional measure of disease yet little is known about work disability in psoriatic arthritis. The overall aim of my thesis is to examine patient reported work disability in psoriatic arthritis by undertaking the following;• A systematic review of the relevant literature• Classification of a cohort of patients to study• Validation of a commonly used work outcome measure used in other rheumatic diseases• Selection of a suitable measure of structural damage to inflamed joints for investigating the associations of work disability in longitudinal observational studies. The results of the systematic review identified limited data reporting high levels of work disability associated with a wide variety of disease and non-disease related factors. The review also identified the lack of a validated outcome measure for use in psoriatic arthritis. I report the classification of a large single centre longitudinal cohort of patients with psoriatic arthritis and evidence supporting the retrospective application of a psoriatic arthritis classification criterion. Subsequently I report a preliminary validation study of the work productivity and activity impairment questionnaire to measure work disability in psoriatic arthritis and a further study comparing the existing measures of structural damage in psoriatic arthritis. Finally I developed and supervised a multicentre observational study to examine the associations of work disability in psoriatic arthritis. The study identified reduced work effectiveness to be associated with measures of disease activity, whereas unemployment was associated with recent disease onset, greater age and worse physical function. The study will provide a valuable cohort for prospective study of work disability and the effect of medical treatment and will form part of my planned post-doctoral studies.
Date of Award2 Jul 2014
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorNeil McHugh (Supervisor)


  • Psoriatic arthritis
  • Outcome measurement
  • Employment
  • radiographs
  • disease classification
  • physical function

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