Article Details

Research Database: Article Details

Citation:  Meade, M., Reed, K. S., Rumrill, P., Aust, R., Krause, J. S. (2016). Perceptions of quality of employment outcomes after multiple sclerosis: A qualitative study. Journal of Rehabilitation, 82 (2), 31-40.
Title:  Perceptions of quality of employment outcomes after multiple sclerosis: A qualitative study
Authors:  Meade, M., Reed, K. S., Rumrill, P., Aust, R., Krause, J. S.
Year:  2016
Journal/Publication:  Journal of Rehabilitation
Publisher:  National Rehabilitation Association
Full text:    |   PDF   
Peer-reviewed?  Yes
NIDILRR-funded?  Yes
Research design:  Qualitative research

Structured abstract:

Background:  The onset of multiple sclerosis tends to occur during a person's prime working years, and often causes a person to leave the workforce. Yet there is not a very broad understanding of what factors make people most want to leave their jobs. Some cite difficulty moving, others mention discrimination, but overall, little information about what people with MS want to gain from employment and how they feel about it has been researched in the last ten years.
Purpose:  The purpose of this article was to gain a subjective understanding of the outcomes of employment from people with MS who were employed at some point following their diagnosis. Specifically, how it affected their well-being, how they felt about their compensation, and how they felt about the ways in which they benefited others.
Setting:  The majority of participants were people with MS who had been employed post-diagnosis, sourced through MS advocacy organizations in Ohio, Georgia, and South Carolina.
Study sample:  The surveyed sample consisted of 8 focus groups with 4-9 participants each, totally 74 participants. The sample contained adults between 20 and 81 years of age, who had been employed after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Women made of 79.7% of the sample, and racial/ethnic minorities made up 25.7%. Half of the sample was currently employed, and 2.8% were retired.
Data collection and analysis:  Each group was taken to a site to be audio and video recorded. With the help of 2 facilitators, one of which asked questions and one of which took notes, the groups were asked questions about their work experiences chosen to gain information about their work experiences and outcomes. The recordings were professionally transcribed and reviewed before being analyzed for the research.
Findings:  It was found that compensation and being able to support one's family and self were strong motivators that encouraged the participants to work through their MS. They also chose to work for its psychological benefits, such as giving them something to do with their mind and feeling pride in their work. Some also noted that being able to work gave them a sense of purpose or identity in their lives. However, some also said that the stresses of working were not worth the benefits it provided, and they were too tired to do anything else once work had ended.
Conclusions:  This study shows that those with MS often see work as a positive, something to do, or something that helps them and others. This can be used in future rehabilitation to help other individuals who wish to be employed.

Disabilities served:  Multiple sclerosis