Exploring the factors that influence workforce participation for people with multiple sclerosis: a discrete choice experiment

Elizabeth Goodwin, Annie Hawton, Jennifer A. Whitty, Colin Green

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
9 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose Research indicates that employment is beneficial for people with multiple sclerosis (MS). However, people with MS typically face reduced workforce participation compared to the general population. Using a discrete choice experiment (DCE) we explored which factors are most important in influencing employment choices of people with MS, and whether the relative importance of factors differs between subgroups. Methods Attributes and levels for the DCE were developed using a systematic literature review and public involvement techniques with people with MS. In an online survey, respondents were asked to choose between two hypothetical job scenarios described using six attributes. We used a large, national register (the UK MS Register), to recruit participants aged 18–64 years with a diagnosis of MS. Choice data were analysed using multinomial logit and latent class models. Results Analyses were based on responses from 2350 people with MS. The preferred model specification was a latent class model, with three classes of respondent. The relative importance of attributes varied between classes, with one giving the greatest weight to the impact of work on other aspects of their lives, the second to having supportive bosses and colleagues, and the third to job flexibility. The classes differed significantly in terms of age and gender, type of MS, and socio-economic status. Conclusions Significant heterogeneity was apparent among people with MS regarding the factors that influence their employment decisions. Attributes concerning the impact of work, attitudes in the workplace and job flexibility appear more influential than those concerning physical workplace adaptations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)613–626
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Occupational Rehabilitation
Issue number3
Early online date27 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2021


  • Employment
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Surveys and questionnaires

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