Predictors of Change in Employment Status and Associations with Quality of Life: A Prospective International Study of People with Multiple Sclerosis
AuthorMarck, CH; Aitken, Z; Simpson, S; Weiland, TJ; Kavanagh, A; Jelinek, GA
Source TitleJournal of Occupational Rehabilitation
University of Melbourne Author/sKavanagh, Anne; Marck, Claudia; Aitken, Zoe; Jelinek, George; Simpson-Yap, Steve; Weiland, Tracey
AffiliationMelbourne School of Population and Global Health
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsMarck, C. H., Aitken, Z., Simpson, S., Weiland, T. J., Kavanagh, A. & Jelinek, G. A. (2020). Predictors of Change in Employment Status and Associations with Quality of Life: A Prospective International Study of People with Multiple Sclerosis. JOURNAL OF OCCUPATIONAL REHABILITATION, 30 (1), pp.105-114. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10926-019-09850-5.
Access StatusOpen Access
NHMRC Grant codeNHMRC/1120014
Purpose This prospective international study aimed to assess the changes in employment, and predictors thereof, and associated change in mental health quality of life in people with multiple sclerosis (MS). Methods People with MS were recruited online through social media, forums and newsletters to complete an online English-language survey in 2012 and again in 2015, to assess changes in employment and clinical characteristics. Results 1276 people with MS of working age were included of whom 35.9% were employed full time, 25.6% part-time, 3.1% were unemployed and seeking employment, 19.7% were retired due to disability and 15.7% were not in the labour force. Part/full time employment decreased from 61.4 to 57.1% of the sample 2.5 years later, and 25.5% experienced some change in employment status. Lower level of education and higher level of disability at baseline predicted loss of employment at follow-up. 62.0% of the sample indicated that MS impacted on employment over their lifetime, associated with a lower level of education and progressive MS at time of diagnosis. Retiring due to disability was predictive of a decreased mental health related QOL score. Conclusion Employment status was negatively impacted by MS for most participants. We showed for the first time that employment loss was prospectively associated with poorer mental health related quality of life. Employment support including vocational services, reasonable flexibility in the workplace, and legal protection against discrimination should be widely available to assist people with MS, especially for those with progressive onset MS, higher disability and lower levels of education who are at higher risk of employment loss.
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