Article Details

Research Database: Article Details

Citation:  Roessler, R.T., Fitzgerald, S.M., Rumrill, P.D. and Koch, L.C. (2001). Determinants of employment status among people with multiple sclerosis. Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin, 45 (1), 31-39.
Title:  Determinants of employment status among people with multiple sclerosis
Authors:  Roessler, R.T., Fitzgerald, S.M., Rumrill, P.D. and Koch, L.C.
Year:  2001
Journal/Publication:  Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin
Publisher:  Hammill Institute on Disabilities and Sage
Full text:   
Peer-reviewed?  No
NIDILRR-funded?  No
Research design:  Survey research

Structured abstract:

Background:  A high proportion of individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS) are unemployed. There appears to be a unique interplay of complex factors associated with employment outcomes.
Purpose:  The aim of this study was to identify predictor factors associated with employment for adults with multiple sclerosis. There were nine hypotheses that included the following: men are more likely to be employed than women, graduation from college and household income are positively related to employment. Age, duration of illness, course of illness, self perceived disease severity, cognitive symptoms and the presence of affective symptoms are negatively related to employment status.
Setting:  Individuals with MS completed a questionnaire in various settings.
Study sample:  The study sample include 139 people with MS. The majority or 68% were women and 32% were men. The average age was 43, with no participant over the age of 62. The majority of the participants were white (96%). Most had attended college 68% with about half or 32% receiving a four year degree. A little over half or 53% reported they were employed and the remainder indicated being available to go to work. Most of the sample were diagnosed with MS in their thirties. Most of the participants reported physical symptoms and fatigue.
Intervention:  There was no intervention.
Control or comparison condition:  There was no control or comparison condition.
Data collection and analysis:  Data was collected using a section of a 60 item questionnaire relate to employment concerns of people with MS. The first part included variables of interest to this particular study like gender, age, education household income, duration of illness and symptoms etc... The second part included 34 employment issues that respondents were asked to rate in terms of personal importance and satisfaction. The survey was mailed out to a random sample of 478 people with MS. A little less than half or 47% of the surveys were returned. Of those 29% provided complete data for the predictors and met the criteria of "available for the workforce". A backward, stepwise multiple logistic regression analysis was performed to determine which variables (i.e. demographic, disease related and psychological) would predict employment or unemployment.
Findings:  The study found that individuals with MS who did not have a college degree, experienced cognitive limitations, had persistent symptoms, and coped with multiple and severe physiological disease effects were more likely to be unemployed. The hypotheses related to employment status and gender, age, household income, duration of illness or a variety of specific symptoms were not supported by the study results.
Conclusions:  The study results support a prediction model to identify people with MS who may benefit from employment services. Those individuals may benefit from immediate and long term rehabilitation interventions, medications, cognitive retraining, assistive technology and more.

Disabilities served:  Multiple sclerosis
Populations served:  Gender: Female and Male
Race: Black / African American
Race: White / Caucasian