Brittany Covert
Last active: 9/15/2017

Cognitive deficits are associated with unemployment in adults with sickle cell anemia.

Sanger M, Jordan L, Pruthi S, Day M, Covert B, Merriweather B, Rodeghier M, DeBaun M, Kassim A
J Clin Exp Neuropsychol. 2016 38 (6): 661-71

PMID: 27167865 · DOI:10.1080/13803395.2016.1149153

An estimated 25-60% of adults with sickle cell disease (SCD) are unemployed. Factors contributing to the high unemployment rate in this population are not well studied. With the known risk of cognitive deficits associated with SCD, we tested the hypothesis that unemployment is related to decrements in intellectual functioning. We conducted a retrospective chart review of 50 adults with sickle cell anemia who completed cognitive testing, including the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-IV, as part of standard care. Employment status was recorded at the time of testing. Medical variables examined as possible risk factors for unemployment included disease phenotype, cerebral infarction, and pain frequency. The mean age of the sample was 30.7 years (range = 19-59); 56% were women. Almost half of the cohort (44%) were unemployed. In a multivariate logistic regression model, lower IQ scores (odds ratio = 0.88; p = .002, 95% confidence interval, CI [0.82, 0.96]) and lower educational attainment (odds ratio = 0.13; p = .012, 95% CI [0.03, 0.65]) were associated with increasing odds of unemployment. The results suggest that cognitive impairment in adults with sickle cell anemia may contribute to the risk of unemployment. Helping these individuals access vocational rehabilitation services may be an important component of multidisciplinary care.

MeSH Terms (13)

Adult Anemia, Sickle Cell Cognitive Dysfunction Educational Status Executive Function Female Humans Intelligence Male Middle Aged Retrospective Studies Unemployment Young Adult

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