Subjective cognitive impairment is related to work status in people with multiple sclerosis

J. Van Wegen*, E.e.a. Van Egmond, R.h.b. Benedict, E.a.c. Beenakker, J.j.j. Van Eijk, S.t.f.m. Frequin, K. De Gans, O.h.h. Gerlach, D.a.m. Van Gorp, G.j.d. Hengstman, P.j. Jongen, J. van der Klink, M.f. Reneman, W.i.m. Verhagen, H.a.m. Middelkoop, L.h. Visser, H.e. Hulst, K. Van Der Hiele

*Corresponding author for this work

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Unemployment is common among people with multiple sclerosis (pwMS) and has been associated with subjective cognitive difficulties, specifically in memory, attention, and executive functioning. However, longitudinal research on subjective cognitive difficulties and employment is scarce.

We investigated whether subjective cognitive impairment (SCI), based on the clinical cut-off score of the MS Neuropsychological Screening Questionnaire (MSNQ), was associated with work status and negative work events (NWE) at baseline and after 2 years. Moreover, we investigated whether four MSNQ subdomains were related to work status and NWE.

287 participants (77.4% female, median age = 42 years) completed questionnaires on subjective cognitive functioning, depression, anxiety, and fatigue, and completed the Symbol Digit Modalities Test (SDMT). After baseline comparisons, logistic regression analyses were performed, with work status and NWE at baseline, and employment change and NWE change within 2 years after baseline as dependent variables. Independent variables included SCI and the MSNQ domains. Covariates anxiety, depression, fatigue, and SDMT were added.

SCI, depression and anxiety were associated with work status (Nagelkerke R2 = .286), but only SCI was associated with employment change (Nagelkerke R2 = .164). No predictors were associated with NWE at baseline or follow-up. In addition, no MSNQ subdomain was related to work status, employment change or NWE.

Unemployed pwMS and pwMS with a deteriorated work status reported more cognitive difficulties after 2 years than employed pwMS or pwMS with a stable work status. In addition, depression, and anxiety were associated with work status.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)513-522
JournalIBRO Neuroscience Reports
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Multiple sclerosis
  • subjective cognitive difficulties
  • work status
  • Work participation


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