Multiple Sclerosis impact on employment and income in New Zealand

J. F. Pearson, S. Alla, G. Clarke, D. F. Mason, T. Anderson, A. Richardson, D. H. Miller, C. E. Sabel, D. A. Abernethy, E. W. Willoughby, B. V. Taylor

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    27 Citations (Scopus)


    Background and Objectives: We investigated the demographic, social and clinical characteristics associated with employment status and income for people with multiple sclerosis (MS) in New Zealand (NZ). Methods: The NZ National MS Prevalence study included all persons resident in NZ on census day 2006 diagnosed with MS (96.7% coverage). Factors associated with employment and income status among the working age population (25-64 years) were identified by linear regression. Results: Over 90% of working age people with MS (n=1727) had a work history, but 54% were not working. Work loss occurred early in the disease course, and at low disability (P<.001). Advancing age, progressive disease, longer disease duration, higher disability levels, partner loss and lower education were associated with work loss (P<.001). Working age people with MS had lower income than the NZ population (P<.0001). Higher qualifications yielded no additional income for MS females and about half the additional income for MS males (P<.0001). Conclusions: MS profoundly reduces employment and income early in the disease course, and at low levels of disability, however, unemployment is not entirely accounted for by clinical, social and demographic factors. These findings suggest social supports should be explored early in the disease course to reduce loss of income and unemployment for people with MS.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)223-232
    Number of pages10
    JournalActa Neurologica Scandinavica
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2017


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