Factors related to disease and personality, as well as specific health-related behaviors, are among the main determinants that can put people with multiple sclerosis (MS) at risk of unemployment, a study suggests.
In particular, MS disease course, fatigue, self-efficacy (belief in one’s own abilities to cope, in this case, with their disease), and diet/exercise were found to affect the risk of unemployment in MS.
These findings highlight the importance of considering these factors as targets for intervention to help keep MS patients employed.
The study, “Determinants of unemployment in multiple sclerosis (MS): The role of disease, person-specific factors, and engagement in positive health-related behaviors,” was published in the journal Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders.
The unemployment rate among people with MS is high — up to 80% — and it especially affects patients in the early stages of the disease.
“Risk of unemployment is highest during the first three to five years after diagnosis, so we need to be able to intervene early to prevent job losses, and their subsequent impact on physical and mental health, as well as on personal and family finances,” Lauren Strober, PhD, author of the study, said in a press release.
Thus, it is important to identify risk factors and behaviors that may affect employment and therefore be targets for intervention.
To address this issue, Strober, a senior research scientist at the Center for Neuropsychology and Neuroscience Research at Kessler Foundation, evaluated demographic, disease, and individual factors as well as health-related behaviors and their associated risk for unemployment in a group of MS patients.
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