Cognitive functioning has been linked to employment outcomes in multiple sclerosis (MS) in cross-sectional studies. Longitudinal studies are however lacking and previous studies did not extensively examine executive functioning.
We examined whether baseline cognitive functioning predicts a change in employment status after 2 years, while taking into account mood, fatigue and disability level.
A total of 124 patients with relapsing-remitting MS (pwMS) and 60 healthy controls were included. They underwent neurological and neuropsychological examinations and completed online questionnaires. PwMS were divided into a stable and deteriorated employment status group (SES and DES), based on employment status 2 years after baseline. We first examined baseline differences between the SES and DES groups in cognitive functioning, mood, fatigue and disability level. A logistic regression analysis was performed, with change in employment status (SES/DES) as dependent variable.
The DES group included 22% pwMS. Group differences were found in complex attention, executive functioning, self-reported cognitive functioning, fatigue and physical disability. More physical disability (OR = 1.90, p = 0.01) and lower executive functioning (OR = 0.30, p = 0.03) were retained as independent predictors of DES (R2 = 0.22, p ≤ 0.001).
Baseline physical disability and executive functioning, but none of the other variables, moderately predicted a deterioration in employment status 2 years later.
- Executive function
- MINIMAL ASSESSMENT
- Multiple sclerosis
- Physically disabled