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Mult Scler Relat Disord. 2015 Sep;4(5):409-413. doi: 10.1016/j.msard.2015.07.005. Epub 2015 Jul 8.

Identifying employed multiple sclerosis patients at-risk for job loss: When do negative work events pose a threat?

Author information

1
Department of Neurology, University at Buffalo, State University of New York (SUNY), Buffalo, NY, USA.
2
Department of Neurology, University at Buffalo, State University of New York (SUNY), Buffalo, NY, USA. Electronic address: benedict@buffalo.edu.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Physical disability and cognitive impairment are significant predictors of unemployment in multiple sclerosis (MS). However, little is known about the frequency of work problems in employed patients, in comparison to employed healthy persons.

OBJECTIVE:

Use an online monitoring tool to compare the frequency of negative work events in MS patients and healthy controls, and determine a threshold at which the frequency of work problems is clinically meaningful.

METHODS:

The sample comprised 138 MS patients and 62 healthy controls. All reported on recent negative work events and accommodations using an online survey. The clinical test battery measured depression, motor and cognitive function. Statistical tests compared the frequency of work problems in MS patients and healthy controls. Clinical neuro-performance scales were then assessed in at-risk patients with many work problems, versus those with no work problems.

RESULTS:

As a group, employed MS patients exhibited deficits in motor ability, verbal memory, and processing speed and were more likely than controls to report negative work events and accommodations. At-risk patients, that is, those reporting more than one negative work event, had more pronounced motor and cognitive deficits than their relatively stable counterparts.

CONCLUSION:

The data show that employed MS patients report more negative work events and accommodations than employed healthy persons. Those patients deemed at risk for job loss have more cognitive and motor impairment, suggesting the need for cognitive training and specific accommodation strategies in the work place.

KEYWORDS:

Cognition; Disability; Employment; Multiple sclerosis; Negative work events; Work accommodations

PMID:
26346789
DOI:
10.1016/j.msard.2015.07.005
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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