RRTC Newsletter

December 2016

Journal of Rehabilitation Article

Journal of Rehabilitation ArticleBarriers to and Facilitators of Employment among Americans with Multiple Sclerosis: Results of a Qualitative Focus Group Study by Matthew Bogenschutz, Katherine J. Inge, Phillip D. Rumrill, Jr., Pamelia Cato Hinterlong, Hannah E. Seward

People with multiple sclerosis (MS) are known to face a multitude of challenges in the workplace and when seeking employment. Less has been written, however, about the subjective experiences of people with MS regarding their workforce participation. This study used phone-administered focus groups to investigate work-related experiences of a national sample of individuals with MS. Using a conventional qualitative content analysis approach, the researchers derived a set of three core themes, each with subordinate sub-themes. The three core themes were: (a) facing future uncertainty, (b) feeling a sense of loss, and (c) navigating the workplace. Findings are discussed within the context of existing literature. Read the full-text article

Research Brief

Research Study 2, Research Brief 4, 2016 - Disclosing Disability in the Workplace: Perspectives of Workers with Multiple Sclerosis

Two women talkingThe intent of this research brief is to describe factors that may influence the decision to disclose a disability to an employer and the consequences of disclosure for people with multiple sclerosis (MS). The findings are from a study being conducted by the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC) on Employment of People with Physical Disabilities. A total of eight focus groups in three distinct regions of the United States (South Carolina, Georgia, and Ohio) were conducted consisting of four to nine participants each for a total of 74 participants.

A qualitative analysis using narratives from the eight groups explored the ramifications of disclosing a diagnosis of MS in the workplace. All participants were 18 years of age or older, spoke English, and had worked after their diagnosis; however, not all were employed at the time of the study. Participants were asked questions to elicit discussion surrounding the issues related to disclosure. Professional transcription of focus group recordings was completed and transcripts were uploaded into NVivo 10, which is a software used to analyze qualitative narratives. Read the Research Brief

Research Brief

Research Study 2, Research Brief 5, 2016 - Perceptions of Quality of Employment Outcomes after Multiple Sclerosis: A Qualitative Study

Man working on computerEmployment is fundamental to adult life and is related to health, life satisfaction, and longevity (Lin, Rogot, Johnson, Sorlie, & Arias, 2003; Lucas, Clark, Georgellis, & Diener, 2004). However, multiple sclerosis (MS) is associated with some of the highest rates of unemployment among groups of individuals with severe and chronic disabilities (Doogan & Playford, 2014). Less than 50% of individuals with MS in the United States are currently employed, although many left their jobs voluntarily and would like to re-enter the workforce (Roessler, Rumrill, Li, & Leslie, 2015; Rumrill, 2006).

Exacerbation and progression of physical symptoms of MS are strong predictors of job loss (Falvo, 2014). Individuals who have a higher education, higher socioeconomic status, and are younger in age are more likely to be employed than those with lower education, lower socioeconomic status (SES), and who are older in age (Edgley, Sullivan, & Dehoux, 1991; Roessler, Rumrill, & Fitzgerald, 2004; Rumrill, Hennessy, & Nissen, 2008). Women are significantly less likely to be employed than men (Roessler et al., 2015), and both sexes are more likely to leave the workforce if they have a working spouse (Rumrill et al., 2008).

Read the Research Brief

Did you miss our last webcast?

Building Social Capital to Access Opportunities and Contribute to Our Communities
George Tilson, Ed.D., Michael Ward, PhD

Two women in the workplaceSocial capital may seem like a contemporary buzzword, but the concept has been around for centuries. It is described in history, economics, sociology, and politics. It has been described in highly esoteric ways by numerous famous intellectuals. In this webcast, we take it down to the everyday level.  Social capital is a resource (something you can obtain, use, and invest), a catalyst (something that causes change), and an outcome (with potential benefits to both the individual and the community).  Social capital is about the connections we have with others; connections of value to all involved.  It is about linking with others in order to build a network, access opportunities and, in turn, contribute to the larger society, through our talents, creativity, energy, and care.   View the Archive

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Virginia Commonwealth University
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Richmond, Virginia 23284-2011
Email: RRTC@vcu.edu
VCU-RRTC is funded by NIDILRR, grant #90RT503502.