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The Working Life of People with Degenerative Cerebellar Ataxia

The aim of the present study was to characterize and analyze the most important individual and organizational variables associated with job accommodation in subjects with degenerative cerebellar ataxia by administering a series of international and validated work activity-related scales. Twenty-four workers (W) and 58 non-workers (NW) were recruited: 34 with autosomal dominant ataxia and 48 with autosomal recessive ataxia (27 with Friedreich ataxia and 21 with sporadic adult-onset ataxia of unknown etiology). The severity of ataxia was rated using the Scale for the Assessment and Rating of Ataxia. Our results showed that the ataxic W were predominantly middle-aged (41-50 years), high school graduate, and married men with a permanent work contract, who had been working for more than 7 years. The W with ataxia exhibited a good level of residual working capacity, irrespective of gender, age range, and duration of the disease, and they were observed to have a low or average-to-low job stress-related risk. Supporting patients with ataxia to find an appropriate job is an important priority because about 78% of NW search for a job and W and NW have the same potential work abilities (no relevant differences were found in terms of disease characteristics, gender, and work resilience). In this view, introducing NW to work-life may have a potential rehabilitative aspect. Findings of this study highlight that equal job opportunities for subjects affected by cerebellar ataxia are recommended.

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