(HealthDay News) – Physical activity (PA) interventions for working adults with arthritis may be improved by taking into account the demands of an individual’s multiple roles, including the complex relationship between work, health, and other life responsibilities, according to a study published in the July issue of Arthritis Care & Research.

To create eight focus groups, Simone A. Kaptein, PhD, from the Toronto Western Research Institute, and colleagues recruited 24 women and 16 men (age range, 29–72 years) who were currently or recently employed (within two years) and had osteoarthritis or inflammatory arthritis. Discussions were audiotaped and transcribed, with transcripts being evaluated using qualitative content analysis.

The researchers found that all groups discussed the impact of arthritis on a range of physical activities. While PA was viewed as positively influencing health and well-being, several complex themes emerged, including that PA was a potential cause of arthritis; that there is a reciprocal relationship between arthritis and PA and PA and arthritis; and that PA is associated with physical and psychological benefits and harms, including difficulty making PA decisions when living in pain or when faced with episodic symptoms.

“Competing demands, pain, energy, episodic symptoms, support, and decisions to disclose one’s illness at work influenced PA,” the authors write.

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