Closing the gap: Longitudinal changes in employment for Australians with multiple sclerosis

Pieter A. Van Dijk, Andrea K. Kirk-Brown, Bruce Taylor, Ingrid van der Mei

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8 Citations (Scopus)


Background and objectives: Previous studies have documented far lower employment participation rates for people with multiple sclerosis (PwMS) compared to the general population. In a large national sample of PwMS, we examined employment status, longitudinal changes in employment and the provision of modifications to work role/environment from 2010 to 2013. Methods: Employment data were collected through the Australian MS Longitudinal Study from 2010 to 2013, with 1260 people responding to all four surveys. Employment rates were compared with the Australian general population. The survey included questions on the provision of modifications to employees’ work role and work environment. Results: Employment (full- and part-time) increased from 48.8% in 2010 to 57.8% in 2013, mainly due to increases in male full-time employment. The employment gap between PwMS and the general population fell from 14.3% in 2010 to 3.5% in 2013. Male employment rates, however, remain significantly lower than the general population. The majority of PwMS who required adjustments to either their work role or environment received them. Conclusion: The gap in employment between PwMS and the general population has substantially reduced from 2010 to 2013, with organisations responding positively to requests for work role/environment adjustments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1415-1423
Number of pages9
JournalMultiple Sclerosis Journal
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2017


  • accommodations
  • employment status
  • gender
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • work participation

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