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Epilepsy and Employment 

Epilepsy and Employment
Chapter:
Epilepsy and Employment
Author(s):

Ann Jacoby

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199659043.003.0034
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date: 18 January 2022

Research into the employability of people with epilepsy has generally presented a somewhat bleak account, with those affected appearing at risk in terms of both under- and unemployment. The issue of employment comes high up the list of the concerns people with epilepsy voice about the everyday implications of their condition. A difficulty with making sense of much previously reported research is that it has treated people with epilepsy as a single group, subject to the same difficulties with regard to employment status. However, closer analysis reveals that for the many people with epilepsy, employment chances are not significantly impaired. Rather there are a number of ‘difficult-to-employ’ sub-groups of people with epilepsy, who will likely need vocational support and guidance to maximize their employment chances. Research also reveals that clinical factors are only one element in a complex intermix of contributors to the employment difficulties people with epilepsy can face. Other factors include the attitudes of key ‘significant others’, including employers, fellow employees and family members. The attitudes and beliefs of those with epilepsy with regard to their employability also contribute potentially to the overall picture. This shows that interventions to improve the employability and employment status of people with epilepsy needs to be multi-faceted and multi-layered. There is growing evidence that properly formulated and appropriately targeted interventions can make a real difference to the employability of people with epilepsy. Thus, we can offer a much brighter message than previously to those affected, and to those concerned about the potential negative impacts of this dimension for their quality of life overall.

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