Patterns in workplace accommodations for people with multiple sclerosis to overcome cognitive and other disease-related limitations

Mykal Leslie, Benson Kinyanjui, Malachy Bishop, Phillip D. Rumrill, Richard T. Roessler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Cognitive symptoms and other functional limitations associated with multiple sclerosis (MS) have a significant negative impact on employment status. Work accommodations positively impact the ability of a person with MS to obtain and retain employment, however, current understanding of the role of accommodations in the careers of adults with MS is limited. OBJECTIVE: To analyze the percentage of American workers with MS who utilize workplace accommodations as per Title I of the ADA, the types of accommodations most frequently required, and differences in disease variables, job-related factors, and quality of life between workers using and not using work accommodations. METHODS: Data from 746 employed adult members of the National MS Society surveyed about career concerns were analyzed. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used as appropriate to address the research questions. RESULTS: Approximately 25% reported having requested accommodations, and 87.7% reported receiving the requested accommodation. Participants with progressive MS, cognitive impairment, higher number of MS symptoms and greater symptom severity were more likely to use work accommodations. Participants with accommodations reported poorer job match and career optimism than those using no accommodations. CONCLUSION: This large-scale analysis addresses several outstanding questions concerning work accommodations among workers with MS. Cognitive symptoms and disease severity are strongly associated with need for accommodations, however accommodations do not appear to promote job satisfaction or longevity. The accommodation request process and the impact of accommodations on employment retention remain important research foci.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)425-436
Number of pages12
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 22 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 - IOS Press and the authors. All rights reserved.


  • Multiple sclerosis
  • cognitive symptoms
  • employment accommodations
  • job retention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation
  • Clinical Neurology


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