Disclosure of diagnosis of multiple sclerosis in the workplace positively affects employment status and job tenure

The causes of unemployment for people with MS are multiple, complex and interactive, involving the physical symptoms of MS, disease-related factors like the type of MS and disease duration, demographic factors as well as employees’ subjective appraisal of the extent to which MS symptoms are perceived to be problematic in the work-place. For many people with MS who are working, disclosure of their diagnosis at work is seen as a high-risk strategy which may lead to a change in perceptions of their capabilities by colleagues.

Based on this, the researchers in this paper looked at statistically evaluating the relationship between disclosure of diagnosis at work and maintenance of employment. This involved three large surveys, including a total of 1,438 people, and examined the relationship between the disclosure of diagnosis at work and employment status. The results demonstrated that people who disclosed their MS status to an employer were more likely to remain in employment in year 3, which remained after controlling for age, gender, hours worked and level of disability. Therefore this highlights the positive role of disclosure in maintaining status.

These results provide positive encouraging information for vocational rehabilitation services involved in counselling employees with disabilities when looking at the costs and benefits of disclosure.

Authors: Kirk-Brown A, Van Dijk P
Source: Mult Scler. 2013 Nov 21. [Epub ahead of print]
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