Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

MS@Work study

What are the long-term effects of disease-related factors, psychological factors and work situation on employment and work absenteeism in relapsing-remitting MS patients?

Karin van der Hiele
Nationaal MS fonds
Teva Pharma Nederland Teva Pharma Nederland
ZonMw TopZorg ZonMw TopZorg

National Multiple Sclerosis Foundation
St. Elisabeth Hospital Tilburg
University of Humanistic studies
MS4 Research Institute
Van Lieshout Arbo Advies

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, inflammatory, demyelinating disease affecting the Central Nervous System. MS is the most common cause of neurological disability in young and middle-aged adults (Gommer & Poos, 2010; Krokavcova et al., 2010). At this stage in life most people are at the beginning or in the midst of their working career. Work participation is very important for a person’s sense of self-respect, leading to financial security, social contacts and providing a feeling of usefulness and satisfaction. Job loss has been associated with worse self-reported health and increased adverse health behaviours after job loss (Clougherty, Souza, & Cullen, 2010). Despite a recent work history, 70 to 80% of people with MS are unable to retain employment following diagnosis (Roessler & Rumrill, 2003). From a societal perspective, the loss of productivity in MS leads to significant socio-economic costs. The high prevalence of unemployment among MS patients and the large personal and societal costs involved underline the need to study factors associated with unemployment and work absence in MS. The causes of unemployment in MS involve a complex interaction between disease-related factors, the working environment, job demands and personal factors (Sweetland, Howse, & Playford, 2012).

Most evidence for factors associated with loss of employment or work absenteeism comes from cross-sectional studies. Prospective studies are rare, or take into account a limited number of factors. The current study aims to examine predictors of (changes in) employment status and work absenteeism in RRMS patients over a period of three years. By taking into account a wide variety of physical, cognitive and psychological factors this study may reveal typical patterns leading to absenteeism, decreased employment status and finally unemployment. Identifying these patterns provides useful information about preventative factors for physicians, psychologists and vocational rehabilitation therapists.

Literature references

Clougherty, J.E., Souza, K., & Cullen, M.R. (2010). Work and its role in shaping the social gradient in health. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1186, 102-124. doi:10.1111/j.1749-6632.2009.05338.x

Gommer, A.M., & Poos, M.J.J.C. (2010). Cijfers multiple sclerose (prevalentie, incidentie en sterfte). Volksgezondheid Toekomst Verkenning, Nationaal Kompas Volksgezondheid, 3.22.

Krokavcova, M., Nagyova, I., Van Dijk, J.P., Rosenberger, J., Gavelova, M., Middel, B., . . . Groothoff, J.W. (2010). Self-rated health and employment status in patients with multiple sclerosis. Disabil Rehabil, 32(21), 1742-1748. doi:10.3109/09638281003734334

Roessler, R.T., & Rumrill, P.D., Jr. (2003). Multiple sclerosis and employment barriers: a systemic perspective on diagnosis and intervention. Work, 21(1), 17-23.

Sweetland, J., Howse, E., & Playford, E.D. (2012). A systematic review of research undertaken in vocational rehabilitation for people with multiple sclerosis. Disability and rehabilitation. doi:10.3109/09638288.2012.669019

Publications MS@Work study

  • Van Gorp, D.A., Van der Hiele, K., Middelkoop, H.A.M., & Visser, L.H. (2018). The relation between cognitive functioning and work outcomes in patients with Multiple Sclerosis: a systematic literature review. Manuscript submitted for publication.
  • Van Gorp, D. A., Van der Klink, J., Abma, F., Heerings, M. A., Van Lieshout, I., Jongen, P. J., . . . Van der Hiele, K. (in press). The capability set for work- correlates of sustainable employability in workers with Multiple Sclerosis. Health and Quality of Life Outcomes.
  • Van der Meide, H., Van Gorp, D. Van der Hiele, K., & Visser, L. (2017). "Always looking for a new balance": toward an understanding of what it takes to continue working while being diagnosed with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. Disability and Rehabilitation, 1-8. doi:10.1080/09638288.2017.1342278.
  • Van der Hiele, K., Van Gorp, D., Benedict, R., Jongen, P. J., Arnoldus, E., Beenakker, E., . . . Visser, L.H. (2016). Coping strategies in relation to negative work events and accommodations in employed multiple sclerosis patients. Multiple Sclerosis Journal: Experimental, Translational and Clinical, 2, 2055217316680638. doi:10.1177/2055217316680638.
  • Van der Hiele, K., Van Gorp, D. A., Heerings, M. A., Van Lieshout, I., Jongen, P. J., Reneman, M.F., . . . Visser, L.H. (2016). Factoren van invloed op arbeidsprestatie bij patiënten met multiple sclerose. Tijdschrift voor Neurologie & Neurochirurgie, 1 (117).
  • Van der Hiele, K., van Gorp, D. A., Heerings, M. A., Van Lieshout, I., Jongen, P. J., Reneman, M. F., . . . Visser, L.H. (2015). The MS@Work study: a 3-year prospective observational study on factors involved with work participation in patients with relapsing-remitting Multiple Sclerosis. BMC Neurology, 15(134). doi:10.1186/s12883-015-0375-4.
  • Van der Hiele, K., Van Gorp, D., Ruimschotel, R., Kamminga, N., Visser, L., & Middelkoop, H.A.M. (2015). Work participation and executive abilities in patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. PLoS ONE; 10(6): e0129228.
  • Van der Hiele, K., Middelkoop, H.A.M., Ruimschotel, R.P., Kamminga, N.G.A. & Visser, L.H. (2014). A pilot study on factors involved with work participation in the early stages of Multiple Sclerosis. PLoS ONE; 9(8): e105673.

Connection with other research

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