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Job Retention Among Individuals With Multiple Sclerosis: Relationship With Prediagnostic Employment and Education; Demographic Characteristics; and Disease Course, Severity, and Complications

      Abstract

      Objective

      To identify how prediagnosis employment, education, demographic statuses, and disease factors relate to job retention among people with multiple sclerosis (MS).

      Design

      Cross-sectional logit model.

      Setting

      Data were collected at an academic Medical University and a specialty hospital, both in the Southeastern US.

      Participants

      People with MS (N=1126) who were employed at the time of MS diagnosis.

      Interventions

      Not applicable.

      Main Outcome Measures

      Job retention was measured by employment status at the time of follow-up assessment.

      Results

      Prediagnostic educational attainment was predictive of job retention. Among several prediagnostic employment characteristics, only working in production, transportation, and material moving was significantly related to a lower odds of job retention compared with those working in professional/managerial occupations. Aging factors were strongly related to job retention, with declines in job retention observed with increasing age and years since diagnosis. Non-Hispanic Black and Hispanic participants reported lower odds of job retention than non-Hispanic White participants, although there were no observed effects of sex. A significantly lower job retention rate was observed among those with progressive MS, compared with relapsing-remitting. Job retention was also less likely among people with greater MS severity and fatigue.

      Conclusions

      Job retention strategies and interventions should target people with greater MS complications and severity, as well as non-Hispanic Black and Hispanic persons, because these characteristics are more highly related to job retention than our prediagnostic employment and vocational history.

      Keywords

      List of abbreviations:

      CI (confidence interval), MS (multiple sclerosis), OR (odds ratio), VR (vocational rehabilitation)
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