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Comorbidities are prevalent and detrimental for employment outcomes in people of working age with multiple sclerosis


Chen, J and Taylor, B and Winzenberg, T and Palmer, AJ and Kirk-Brown, A and van Dijk, P and Simpson Jr, S and Blizzard, L and van der Mei, I, Comorbidities are prevalent and detrimental for employment outcomes in people of working age with multiple sclerosis, Multiple Sclerosis Journal, (June) pp. 1-10. ISSN 1352-4585 (2019) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2019 The Authors

DOI: doi:10.1177/1352458519872644


Background: More work is needed to understand the burden of comorbidities in people with multiple sclerosis (MS).

Objective: To assess prevalence of 30 comorbidities and impacts of comorbidities on employment outcomes in a working-aged MS cohort.

Methods: Participants were from the Australian MS Longitudinal Study (n = 929). Information on specific comorbidity was obtained (whether or not each was present, doctor-diagnosed, limited their activities and being treated).

Results: Comorbidities most frequently reported to limit activities were osteoarthritis (51%), migraines (40%), anxiety (33%), depression (29%) and allergies (18%). Mean MS-related work productivity loss in past 4 weeks was 1.3 days for those without comorbidities and 2.5 days for those with any comorbidity. The annual population costs of work productivity loss were highest for people with depression, allergies, anxiety, migraines and osteoarthritis. Higher number of comorbidities was associated with more work productivity loss and a higher likelihood of not working. These associations were substantially reduced after adjustment for MS symptom severity.

Conclusions: Comorbidities substantially impact employment outcomes and these effects were mainly mediated through MS symptom severity. This suggests that optimal and simultaneous management of comorbidities may be a viable strategy to reduce MS symptom severity, which in turn could improve employment outcomes.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:multiple sclerosis, comorbidity, symptom, depression, employment, work productivity
Research Division:Biomedical and Clinical Sciences
Research Group:Neurosciences
Research Field:Central nervous system
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Clinical health
Objective Field:Clinical health not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Chen, J (Miss Jing Chen)
UTAS Author:Taylor, B (Professor Bruce Taylor)
UTAS Author:Winzenberg, T (Professor Tania Winzenberg)
UTAS Author:Palmer, AJ (Professor Andrew Palmer)
UTAS Author:Simpson Jr, S (Dr Steve Simpson JR)
UTAS Author:Blizzard, L (Professor Leigh Blizzard)
UTAS Author:van der Mei, I (Professor Ingrid van der Mei)
ID Code:137564
Year Published:2019
Web of Science® Times Cited:2
Deposited By:Menzies Institute for Medical Research
Deposited On:2020-02-20
Last Modified:2020-07-28

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