Subjective and Objective Impairment Metrics as Unique Correlates of Employment Status in Multiple Sclerosis

Thursday, June 2, 2016
Exhibit Hall
Jeffrey G Portnoy, B.A. , Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology, Yeshiva University, Bronx, NY
Eliana Pasternak, B.A. , Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology, Yeshiva University, Bronx, NY
Frederick W Foley, Ph.D. , School of Psychology, Yeshiva University, New York, NY

Background: Disability in multiple sclerosis (MS) is multifaceted, with physical, cognitive, and psychosocial elements all playing roles in overall disease burden. Given the high rates of unemployment associated with MS, examination of the potential relationship between employment and measures of impairment across multiple domains could provide valuable insight into the factors underlying unemployment among individuals with MS. 

Objectives: Determine peripheral measures associated with employment status in MS.

Methods: Retrospective chart review was performed for patients who had undergone neuropsychological testing (N = 61) at a medical center’s outpatient MS clinic. Partial Spearman rank-order correlations, controlled for the effects of age, race, and gender, assessed the relationships between employment status and objective and subjective neuropsychological tests and inventories.

Results: Employment status was significantly associated with a subjective inventory of neuropsychological impairment (ρ = −.414, p = .006) and objective neurocognitive tests of visual memory (ρ = .299, p = .017), attention and processing speed (ρ = .387, p = .003), and verbal fluency (ρ = .274, p = .030; ρ = .347, p = .009).

Conclusions: Domains of cognitive functioning, rated both subjectively and objectively, are strongly related to MS patients’ employment status.