Impact of juvenile idiopathic arthritis on schooling
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BMC Pediatrics 2013, 13:2 doi:10.1186/1471-2431-13-2Published: 7 January 2013
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) is the most common arthropathy of childhood. Different diseases affect school attendance to varying degrees. The aim of this study was to assess the impact of juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) on Moroccan children’s schooling.
Thirty-three children with JIA were included in this study, having been previously diagnosed according to the classification criteria of the International League of Associations for Rheumatology (ILAR). Seventy-four healthy children were recruited to serve as controls. Data was obtained for all children on their school level, educational performance, and attendance. The rate of absenteeism due to health complications was noted.
All healthy children were able to attend school (p<0.0001), while 33% of children with JIA were unable to attend school due to their condition. The students with JIA who were able to attend school were absent much more often than controls (63% compared to 20%), with a highly significant p value (p<0.0001). Slightly less than half of the JIA patients (48.5%) failed in their schooling. In univariate analysis, there was an association between absenteeism and tender joints (p=0.02), disease activity score (DAS28) (p=0.007), Childhood Health Assessment Questionnaire (CHAQ) (p=0.01), and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) (p=0.03). In multivariate analysis, the only association persisted between DAS28 and absenteeism.
Our study suggested that the schooling of children with JIA was negatively impacted due to the disorder. More studies, with a larger sample of children, are needed to confirm our findings.