Article Details

Research Database: Article Details

Citation:  Frndak, S.E., Kordovski, V.M., Cookfair, D., Rodgers, J.D., Weinstock-Guttmann, B., & Benedict, R. H.B. (2014). Disclosure of disease status among employed multiple sclerosis patients: Association with negative work events and accommodations. Multiple Sclerosis Journal, 1-10.
Title:  Disclosure of disease status among employed multiple sclerosis patients: Association with negative work events and accommodations
Authors:  Frndak, S.E., Kordovski, V.M., Cookfair, D., Rodgers, J.D., Weinstock-Guttmann, B., & Benedict, R. H.B.
Year:  2014
Journal/Publication:  Multiple Sclerosis Journal
Publisher:  Sage Publications
DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1177/ 1352458514540971
Full text:  http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/1352458514540971   
Peer-reviewed?  Yes
NIDILRR-funded?  No
Research design:  Mixed methods

Structured abstract:

Background:  Onset of multiple sclerosis often occurs during mid life when adults are employed. One in every two individuals diagnosed will exit the workforce within five years. Factors leading up to leaving work vary. One primary problem relates to ineffective management of the symptoms associated with the disease. A flexible work schedule is one work support that impacts job retention. More research about factors leading up to job loss is needed in order to identify other viable work supports. Disclosure of worker's disability impacts receipt of various work supports. Information about factors associated with disclosing disability and measuring the impact on accommodation would be useful.
Purpose:  The aim of this study was two fold and included determining factors that predicated disclosure of disability and measuring the impact of disclosure on job retention for employees with multiple sclerosis.
Setting:  The setting included a wide range of businesses where participants worked.
Study sample:  The study sample included a cross sectional sample of 143 and a longitudinal sample of 103 people with MS. Forty seven people were included in both aspects of the study. This resulted in a total sample of 199. The two samples were not significantly different in terms of demographics, disease course or duration. The average was was around 45 years, average years of education was around 15 to 16 years and the majority of the participants were female. The median income ranged between $45,000 and $49,500 per year.
Control or comparison condition:  The researchers looked at two overlapping samples. A cross sectional sample was used to determine outcomes associated with disclosure. A longitudinal sample was used to identify disability related problems and accommodations.
Data collection and analysis:  The cross sectional sample was assessed once time using neuroperformance tests and self report surveys. An online survey was used to evaluate work status among those in the longitudinal sample. Forty seven participants were included in both groups. Analyses were conducted using SPSS for Windows Version 21.0. Analyses were conducted depending on the frequency of dependent variables. A logistic regression model and non parametric analysis was also used. A small sample (N=6) was used to study changes in disability status and accommodations required after disclosure of disability.
Findings:  People with physical disability associated with MS were more likely to disclose their disability than those who had cognitive problems. Reasons for disclosure of disability varied. Over time, individuals who disclosed their disability had more difficulties at work and required more accommodations.
Conclusions:  The decision to disclose disability is complicated. The results seem to indicate that early disclosure may help a person maintain employment, if accommodations are provided. More research, with a larger sample of patients is needed.

Disabilities served:  Multiple sclerosis
Populations served:  Gender: Female and Male