What is the Quality of Life in Adults With Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis vs. Adult-Onset Arthritis?

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The effects of juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) develop in childhood, but they can also extend into adulthood. This can put patients at risk of pain and joint damage. How does the quality of life of adults with JIA compare to that of adults with adult-onset forms of arthritis?

Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) can cause persistent pain and leave children at risk for joint damage and even eye inflammation.¹ As a result, some studies have used patient-reported outcomes to suggest JIA significantly impairs health-related quality of life in children and adolescents.²

Though most research focuses on the impact of JIA in patients age 16 or younger, the effects of JIA can extend into adulthood. What is the quality of life in adults with juvenile idiopathic arthritis and how does it compare to the quality of life in adults with adult-onset arthritis?

Health-Related Quality of Life in Adult JIA

A 2020 study in Revista Colombiana de Reumatologia examined health-related quality of life in adults with JIA. The researchers found that between 30% and 60% of adult patients with JIA deal with active disease.³

The researchers looked at data from adult patients diagnosed with JIA from 1996 to 2018. They found that, in adult patients with active JIA, low quality of life was associated with increased joint damage, extra-articular damage, and functional disability. Joint damage and disease activity was also associated with worse adherence to therapeutic treatments. Patients also showed a lower risk of joint and extra-articular damage five years after the age of onset for their JIA.

Quality of Life in Adult-Onset Arthritis

A 2021 study in RMD Open compared the health-related quality of life and disability in adults with JIA to that of adults with adult-onset arthritis and rheumatic diseases.⁴ The researchers found that while there were struggles with quality of life in both groups, certain types of JIA correlated with better quality of life than adult-onset arthritic conditions.

When comparing patient-reported outcomes for JIA and adult-onset rheumatic disease, patients with JIA with polyarticular involvement were found to have less disability and fatigue than patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Patients with polyarticular JIA also reported fewer depressive and anxiety symptoms, though not enough to be deemed statistically significant.

Adult patients with juvenile enthesitis-related arthritis (ERA) were compared with adults with spondyloarthritis (SpA). In this comparison, patients with ERA were also found to have reported less disability, fatigue, anxiety, and depressive symptoms than patients with SpA.


1. Juvenile idiopathic arthritis – symptoms and causes. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/juvenile-idiopathic-arthritis/symptoms-causes/syc-20374082. Updated November 18, 2020. Accessed May 24, 2022.

2. Abdelaleem, E.A., Ezzat, D.A. & Mostafa, G.R. Functional disability and health-related quality of life in juvenile idiopathic arthritis children from Beni-Suef. Egypt Rheumatol Rehabil 48, 12 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1186/s43166-021-00060-7

3. Reina Ávila, M.F. & Malagón, C., 2020. Health-related quality of life in adults with juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Revista Colombiana de Reumatología (English Edition), [online] 27(1), pp.26-36. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rcreue.2019.12.006

4. Oliveira Ramos F, Rodrigues A, Magalhaes Martins F, et al. Health-related quality of life and disability in adults with juvenile idiopathic arthritis: comparison with adult-onset rheumatic diseases. RMD Open. 2021;7(3):e001766. doi:10.1136/rmdopen-2021-001766