School of Business and Law
Individuals with multiple sclerosis have a tendency to make early decisions for work change, even in reversible, episodic, or mild disease stages. To better understand how a multiple sclerosis (MS) diagnosis influences perceptions of work and motivations for work changes, we conducted a hermeneutic phenomenology study to explore the work lives of ten individuals with MS in Malaysia. The interpretive analysis and cumulative narratives depict an overarching change in their concept of ideal work and life aspirations and how participants make preemptive work changes to manage illness-work-life futures in subjectively meaningful ways. Discussions on their integrated pursuit of finding dynamic and subjective illness-work-life balance include reconciling the problem of hard work and stress on disease activity and progress, making positive lifestyle changes as health management behaviour, and the motivational influence of their own life and family roles: the consideration of their spouses, parents, and children. At an action level, work change was seen as moral and necessary for the management of illness futures. Our findings contribute insights on how individual perceptions and holistic life management decisions contribute to on-going and disrupted work trajectories, which can inform practice and policy on early interventions to support continued employment.
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