Employment after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is an indicator of post-transplantation recovery and function, with economic and social implications. As survival rates for HSCT continue to improve, greater emphasis can be placed on factors affecting the quality of post-transplantation survival, including the ability to resume employment. A sample of recipients of autologous or allogeneic HSCT was accrued (n = 1000) to complete a longitudinal lifestyle survey before transplantation and at 1 year after transplantation. The present study examines associations between employment and patient characteristics, disease variables, illness status, and quality of life among 1-year survivors (n = 702). Participants had a mean age of 55 years (range, 18 to 78) and were predominately male (59.7%), married/partnered (77.1%), and non-Hispanic Caucasian (89.5%); most (79.4%) had received autologous transplantation. Of the 690 participants reporting some form of employment before illness diagnosis, 62.4% had returned to work by 1 year after HSCT. Full-time employment at 1 year after HSCT was significantly associated with remission of illness, improved illness, fewer post-transplantation hospitalizations, less fatigue and pain, higher quality of life, and higher rating of perceived health. Those unemployed because of their health reported the highest rates of fatigue and pain and lowest quality of life, and they were most likely to report poor perceived health. These findings highlight work reintegration as an important outcome and marker of survivors’ overall adjustment after transplantation. Identifying factors affecting post-transplantation employment offers opportunities for behavioral interventions to target modifiable risk factors to optimize post-transplantation survivorship, inclusive of increased rates of return to work and decreased rates of associated disability.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
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