Kessler Foundation Researchers Report Factors Affecting Employment in Multiple Sclerosis

Dr. Lauren Strober

MS experts identify person-specific factors associated with deciding whether or not to continue working

East Hanover, NJ  June 18, 2018 – Kessler Foundation researchers examined the influence of person-specific factors on maintenance of employment status among individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS). They determined three factors were significant determinants: fatigue, use of humor and use of behavioral disengagement as a means of coping. The article, "Should I stay or should I go? A prospective investigation examining individual factors impacting employment status among individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS)" was published in Work 2018;59(1):39-47 (doi 10.3233/WOR-172667).  The authors are Lauren Strober, PhD, Nancy Chiaravalloti, PhD, and John DeLuca, PhD, of Kessler Foundation.

MS is the most common neurological condition among individuals of working age. Identifying modifiable factors that interfere with workplace participation is the first step toward helping individuals maintain their independence and quality of life.

Forty individuals with MS participated in this study; 20 who were employed and 20 who were considering reducing work hours or leaving their jobs. Individuals who reported greater levels of self-efficacy, extroversion and use of humor were more likely to report staying employed, while individuals considering leaving the workforce reported greater levels of fatigue, anxiety, depression, and behavioral disengagement as a means of coping.

"We found that use of humor, behavioral disengagement and fatigue were significant factors in workplace decision-making among individuals with MS," said Dr. Strober, senior research scientist. "This knowledge will help us develop more effective interventions targeted at helping people stay in the workplace."

This research was supported by National Institutes of Health NCMRR K23HD069494.

About Kessler Foundation

Kessler Foundation, a major nonprofit organization in the field of disability, is a global leader in rehabilitation research that seeks to improve cognition, mobility and long-term outcomes, including employment, for people with neurological disabilities caused by diseases and injuries of the brain and spinal cord. Kessler Foundation leads the nation in funding innovative programs that expand opportunities for employment for people with disabilities. For more information, visit KesslerFoundation.org.

For more information, or to interview an expert, contact: Carolann Murphy, 973.324.8382, CMurphy@KesslerFoundation.org; or Laura Viglione, LViglione@KesslerFoundation.org