Article Details

Research Database: Article Details

Citation:  Roessler, R. T., & Rumrill, P. D. (2003). Multiple sclerosis and employment barriers: a systemic perspective on diagnosis and intervention. Work, 21 (1), 17-23.
Title:  Multiple sclerosis and employment barriers: a systemic perspective on diagnosis and intervention
Authors:  Roessler, R. T., & Rumrill, P. D.
Year:  2003
Journal/Publication:  Work
Publisher:  IOS Press
Full text:   
Peer-reviewed?  Yes
NIDILRR-funded?  No
Research design:  Literature review

Structured abstract:

Background:  Multiple sclerosis (MS) affects approximately 250,000 to 350,000 people in the United States. This neurologically disabling condition results in great stress, cost, and continues for a long period of time. One of the main costs associated with MS comes with the loss of employment. Approximately 90% of individuals with MS have work histories and 60% were working at the time of diagnosis but as many as 70-80% of individuals with MS are unemployed post-diagnosis.
Purpose:  The purpose of this study was to understand the barriers to employment that individuals with MS face and develop strategies for reducing or removing those barriers.
Findings:  MS symptoms often negatively impact an individual’s effectiveness as a worker. Fatigue and weakness first and foremost present significant challenges to finding and retaining employment. Research has shown that strength of social networks are significant in one’s ability to return to work. Barriers to employment in the actual employment environment come in the form of physical barriers and the employer’s lack of support for returning to work. Many individuals with MS dissatisfied with the state vocational rehabilitation system. Consulting about job accommodations and flexibility on the part of the employer can help reduce some of the common barriers to employment.
Conclusions:  Multiple explanations exist for the high unemployment rate of individuals with MS. A flexible employer that is willing to work with the individual can go a long way towards reversing this trend.

Disabilities served:  Multiple sclerosis