Original research| Volume 99, ISSUE 8, P1483-1490, August 2018

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Predictors for Employment Status in People With Multiple Sclerosis: A 10-Year Longitudinal Observational Study

  • Mia Forslin
    Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden

    Rehab Station Stockholm, Solna, Sweden

    Function Area Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy, Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden
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  • Katharina Fink
    Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden

    Department of Neurology, Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden
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  • Ulf Hammar
    Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
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  • Lena von Koch
    Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden

    Department of Neurology, Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden
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  • Sverker Johansson
    Corresponding author Sverker Johansson, PhD, Division of Neurology R54, Karolinska University Hospital, Huddinge, SE–141 86 Stockholm, Sweden.
    Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden

    Function Area Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy, Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden
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Published:February 03, 2018DOI:



      To identify predictors for employment status after 10 years in a cohort of people with multiple sclerosis (MS), with the aim to increase knowledge concerning factors present at an early stage that are important for working life and work-life balance.


      A 10-year longitudinal observational cohort study.


      University hospital.


      A consecutive sample of people with MS (N=154) of working age were included at baseline, of which a total of 116 people participated in the 10-year follow-up; 27 people declined participation and 11 were deceased.


      Not applicable.

      Main Outcome Measures

      Baseline data on personal factors and functioning were used as independent variables. Employment status 10 years after baseline, categorized as full-time work, part-time work, and no work, was used as the dependent variable. A generalized ordinal logistic regression was used to analyze the predictive value of the independent variables.


      Predictors for full- or part-time work after 10 years were young age (P=.002), low perceived physical impact of MS (P=.02), fatigue (P=.03), full-time work (P=.001), and high frequency of social/lifestyle activities (P=.001) at baseline. Low perceived physical impact of MS (P=.02) at baseline also predicted full-time work after 10 years.


      This study underlines the complexity of working life for people with MS, and indicates that it may be valuable to give more attention to the balance between working and private life, both in clinical practice and future research, to achieve a sustainable working life over time.


      List of abbreviations:

      EDSS (Expanded Disability Status Scale), MS (multiple sclerosis), PwMS (people with multiple sclerosis), VIF (variance inflation factor)
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