Estimating MS-related work productivity loss and factors associated with work productivity loss in a representative Australian sample of people with multiple sclerosis

Jing Chen, Bruce Taylor, Andrew J. Palmer, Andrea Kirk-Brown, Pieter van Dijk, Steve Simpson Jr, Leigh Blizzard, Ingrid van der Mei

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20 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Little is known about the work productivity loss in multiple sclerosis (MS). Objectives: To quantify the MS-related work productivity loss and to compare factors associated with labour force participation and work productivity loss. Methods: Participants were from the Australian MS Longitudinal Study. MS-related work productivity loss included absenteeism (time missed from work) and presenteeism (reduced productivity while working). Data were analysed using log-binomial and Cragg hurdle regression. Results: Among 740 MS employees, 56% experienced any work productivity loss due to MS in the past 4 weeks. The mean total work productivity loss was 2.5 days (14.2% lost productive time), absenteeism 0.6 days (3.4%) and presenteeism 1.9 days (10.8%)), leading to AU$6767 (US$4985, EURO€4578) loss per person annually. Multivariable analyses showed that work productivity was determined most strongly by symptoms, particularly ‘fatigue and cognitive symptoms’ and ‘pain and sensory symptoms’, while older age, and lower education level were also predictive of not being in the labour force. Conclusion: MS-related presenteeism was three times higher than absenteeism, highlighting the importance of presenteeism being included in employment outcomes. The dominance of symptom severity as predictors of both work participation and productivity loss emphasises the need for improved management of symptoms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)994-1004
Number of pages11
JournalMultiple Sclerosis Journal
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019


  • absenteeism
  • fatigue
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • pain
  • presenteeism
  • symptoms
  • work productivity loss

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