Birgit Prodinger

Gesundheit und Agency: Context factors that impact work and social life participation of individuals with chronic diseases in Austria and Switzerland

b_prodingerMultiple sclerosis (MS) is a episodic progressive neurological disease that is frequently diagnosed when people are at the peak of their careers and particularly socially active. The aim of this study was to gain knowledge about contextual barriers and facilitators that impact on work and social life participation of people with MS in Austria and Switzerland from their perspectives, and to subsequently examine cross-national experiences in the identification and priorization of factors identified by people with MS.

The findings of this study point to the breadth of contextual factors – ranging from physical, social, attitudinal, and policy factors – that impact on the ability to participate in employment or in social live. Based on the perspectives and lived experiences of people with MS there is consensus on groups of factors that influence work and social participation although in existing literature the factors that hamper or facilitate participation are often described as being idiosyncratic or unique to individual circumstances. For instance participants identified that policies play a role in supporting whether or not they can or will be able to participate in work and social roles throughout their lives. This study supports that participation in socially valued and meaningful occupations is influenced by factors beyond those addressed in clinical settings. The need for the ongoing paradigm shift within rehabilitation from a biomedical towards a biopsychosocial model is strongly supported by this study.

For more information see also:
Prodinger B, Weise A, Shaw L, & Stamm T. A Delphi study on environmental factors that impact work and social life participation of individuals with multiple sclerosis in Austria and Switzerland. Disability and Rehabilitation. 2010;32(3):183-95.