BACKGROUND: Many individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS) are unemployed relatively soon after diagnosis. There is a paucity of research on the relationship between psychological distress and employment status in persons with MS. OBJECTIVE: To explore the relative distress of employed versus unemployed individuals with MS. METHODS: Secondary cross-sectional analysis of a mailed survey. Variables were categorized by demographics (age, gender, education, marital status), disease (EDSS, MS symptom duration, fatigue, MS-type), and psychosocial factors (depression, anxiety, perceived stress, self-reported general cognitive concerns, self-reported executive dysfunction). Univariate logistic regression analysis was used to identify variables significantly associated with employment status. All significant variables were then included in a multivariate model to identify the most salient correlates. RESULTS: Univariate analyses identified 10 variables that were significantly associated with employment status: age, education, EDSS, MS symptom duration, MS-type, depression symptoms, perceived stress, fatigue, and self-reported cognitive symptoms. The multivariate model yielded four demographic and disease-related variables and one emotional distress variable (older age, moderate disability [EDSS], longer symptom duration, MS-type, higher perceived stress) as significant. CONCLUSIONS: After adjusting for disease variables, demographics, and significant psychosocial factors, perceived stress remained associated with employment status, such that greater perceived stress was associated with being unemployed.
- MS symptoms
- Occupational status
- emotional distress
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health