Motivational interviewing intervention to preserve employment in multiple sclerosis: promoting self-efficacy in the workplace.

TitleMotivational interviewing intervention to preserve employment in multiple sclerosis: promoting self-efficacy in the workplace.
Publication TypeJournal Article
AuthorsJohnson KL, Bamer AM, Fraser RT
JournalMultiple Sclerosis

Background: People with multiple sclerosis (MS) in the US are unemployed at higher rates than expected given their average age, education, and level of occupational attainment. Research indicates barriers to maintaining employment can be addressed through self- and employerinitiated accommodations for physical and cognitive limitations. However, individuals with MS have been unwilling to use existing accommodation services due to concerns about disclosure, or because access to available resources is difficult. Motivational interviewing (MI) is a brief evidence-based intervention designed to enhance self-management of a variety of symptoms. We have applied MI in this study to assist employed people with MS maintain employment. Objective: Evaluate the efficacy of MI delivered by telephone to assist people with MS to develop and implement accommodation plans and preserve employment. Here we report on preliminary results with respect to participant satisfaction immediately following the intervention. Methods: Sixty subjects with MS who were working and concerned about their employment were randomly assigned to immediate or delayed MI intervention delivered by telephone. Thirtyfour participants completed a 2-week follow-up survey to assess satisfaction with and perceived behavior change attributed to the MI process. Results: 85% of subjects were satisfied or very satisfied with the intervention. 64% changed their evaluation of accommodations in the workplace and half reported that their employment situation had improved as a result of the telephone counseling. 83% reported they expected the counseling to help them change in the future and 88% reported they were confident they could adjust their employment or accommodations as necessary in the future. Conclusions: From this preliminary data, it appears that participants were satisfied with the intervention, perceived it to be effective, and perceived that they had enhanced self-efficacy with respect to their employment status. Given the cost-effectiveness of the telephone-based MI and subject satisfaction, further research on efficacy is warranted.

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