Background and aims Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) causes significant physical and functional disability. Children miss school due to illness, multiple hospital visits or admissions. Frequent absence from school is consistently reported to adversely affect academic performance. Our aim was to assess the rate of school absenteeism and drop out among Indian patients of JIA.
Methods The study was carried out on 69 children, 32 female, 37 male. The children and their parents were interviewed for details of school attendance, number of days and frequency of absence from school. Medical records were examined for hospital admissions and follow-up visits to supplement the information obtained from families.
Results The median number of school days missed/year were 41 (4–300; IQR- 20,120), representing 21.5% of school days. Among subtypes, school days missed are depicted in Table 1. Nearly 12% of children dropped out, 6/25 SoJIA, 1/9 Oligoarticular and 1/14 Enthesitis related arthritis (ERA). Using multivariate linear regression, school absenteeism was found to be significantly affected by physical disability measured by Childhood health assessment questionnaire (CHAQ) (p < 0.01). There was no difference between males and females.
Conclusions Most children missed significant number of school days, highest in SoJIA and least in Polyarticular rheumatoid factor (RF) -ve JIA. Dropout rate was high and related to the JIA subtype. Physical disability significantly affected absenteeism.