Predictors of differential employment statuses of adults with multiple sclerosis

Richard T. Roessler, Phillip D. Rumrill, Jian Li, Mykal J. Leslie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Adults with multiple sclerosis experience high rates of unemployment post-diagnosis even though they continue to have considerable employment potential. OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study is to identify factors predictive of unemployment among adults with multiple sclerosis and to recommend interventions that increase the probability of full and part-time employment. METHODS: Responding to a national survey of the employment concerns of Americans with multiple sclerosis (MS), participants in this study consisted of 1,839 members of nine National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS) chapters representing 21 states and Washington, DC. RESULTS: The sample included 397 men (22%) and 1,436 women (78%). Older (average age of 54) White (76%) individuals, the majority were unemployed (59%) but well educated (98% were high school graduates, 46% were college graduates). Findings from multinomial logistic regression analyses underscore the complexity involved in predicting who will and will not maintain full and part-time employment while coping with the physical, cognitive, psychological, and support system challenges of multiple sclerosis. CONCLUSION: Younger, better educated individuals with less severe MS and greater financial security were more likely to be involved in full or part-time employment. Early intervention efforts at the worksite are suggested as one means to enable adults with MS to maintain their employment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-152
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Vocational Rehabilitation
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2015

Bibliographical note

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


  • Multiple sclerosis
  • job retention
  • vocational rehabilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Occupational Therapy


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