Research Article| Volume 357, ISSUE 1-2, P209-214, October 15, 2015

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Negative work events reported online precede job loss in multiple sclerosis


      • Multiple sclerosis (MS) patients completed a vocational survey every three months.
      • Stably employed patients, those who lost work and healthy controls are compared.
      • Before job loss, group differences were noted in clinical and workplace variables.
      • MS patients who lost work were more likely to report negative work events.
      • Evaluation of negative work events can be used in timely vocational intervention.



      Determine if a recently validated online survey of negative work events can predict future job loss among multiple sclerosis (MS) patients.


      Evaluated were 284 employed individuals (63 healthy controls, 221 MS patients), every three months, using an online vocational monitoring tool. Job loss rates in MS patients were compared with the healthy controls. Survey responses from MS patients suffering job loss (n = 23) were then compared to those maintaining employment. Analyses focused on the frequency of negative work events.


      While 23 (10%) of MS patients lost their job after baseline, there was no job loss among the healthy controls. Compared to stably employed patients, those suffering job loss had been diagnosed with MS later in life, were more likely to report a progressive disease course, and had greater physical disability as measured by the Patient Derived Disease Steps (PDDS). Declining patients were also more likely to report negative work events within three months of job loss (e.g., verbal criticism for errors or removal of responsibilities). Stepwise logistic regression predicting MS job loss retained the PDDS, age at diagnosis, years working for employer and reporting a negative work event.


      The results show that physical disability and patient reported risk factors for job loss can be monitored using an online survey tool. The tool can trigger clinical assessments to help prevent unemployment and assist patients in procuring disability benefits.


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