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Online Resource to Promote Vocational Interests Among Job Seekers With Multiple Sclerosis: A Randomized Controlled Trial in Australia

Published:September 16, 2017DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apmr.2017.08.475

      Abstract

      Objective

      To provide a preliminary evaluation of the effectiveness of an online resource for job seekers with multiple sclerosis (MS).

      Design

      Randomized controlled design.

      Setting

      Community-dwelling cohort.

      Participants

      Adults (N = 95) with relapsing-remitting or progressive MS were randomly assigned to one of two groups. Forty-five accessed an email delivered, 7 module resource, Work and MS, over a 4 week period. Waitlist control participants (n=50) were offered the opportunity to access Work and MS 4 weeks postenrollment.

      Main Outcome Measures

      Primary outcomes focused on vocational interests (My Vocational Situation Scale) and self-efficacy in job-seeking activities (Job-Procurement Self Efficacy Scale). Secondary outcomes focused on perceived workplace difficulties (Multiple Sclerosis Work Difficulties Questionnaire [MSWDQ]), optimism (Life Orientation Test – Revised), and mood (Patient Health Questionnaire-9).

      Results

      Intention-to-treat analyses revealed pre-post gains: participants who accessed Work and MS reported improved confidence in their career goals (My Vocational Situation Scale g=.55; 95% confidence interval [CI], .14–.96; P=.008) and positively reappraised potential workplace difficulties (MSWDQ g range, .42–.47; P range, .023–.042). The effect on job self-efficacy was not significant, but changed in the expected direction (g=.17; 95% CI, –.23 to .57; P=.409). Completer data revealed larger, significant effect estimates (g range, .52–.64; P range, .009–.035).

      Conclusions

      Findings provide preliminary support for the utility of a job information resource, Work and MS, to augment existing employment services. The results also suggest the need to test employment-ready interventions in a larger study population. This might include the addition of online peer support to increase intervention compliance.

      Keywords

      List of abbreviations:

      CI (Confidence interval), MS (Multiple sclerosis), MSWDQ (Multiple Sclerosis Work Difficulties Questionnaire), PHQ-9 (Patient Health Questionnaire-9)
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