An empowerment model of workplace support following disclosure, for people with MS

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Background: Vocational interventions aimed at increasing job retention for people with multiple sclerosis (MS) are reliant upon a partnership with a supportive work environment. A better understanding of the types of psychosocial support that are most conducive to retaining employees sense of work-efficacy will enhance the success of interventions aimed at reducing workplace barriers to job maintenance. Objective: The objective of this study is to identify the types of psychosocial support that people with MS require post-disclosure, in order to maintain their employment status. In particular, we examined the roles of psychological safety and work-efficacy. Methods: We interviewed 40 employees with MS either individually (n = 25) or within three focus groups (n = 15). These interviews were audio-taped and the content analysed, using an inductive thematic approach. Results: Themes to emerge in organisational responses to disclosure were: a focus on ability (leading to enhanced perceptions of psychological safety and higher work-efficacy) and on disability (leading to diminished psychological safety and reduced perceptions of work-efficacy). Conclusion: Organisational responses to disclosure demonstrating trust and inclusive decision making, and focussing on employee abilities, enhance perceptions of psychological safety at work. This increases the likelihood that employees with MS will retain their sense of work-efficacy and reduce their intentions to leave.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1624 - 1632
Number of pages9
JournalMultiple Sclerosis Journal
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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