Epilepsy and Employment : a Scoping Exercise for Epilepsy Scotland

Findlay, Patricia and McQuarrie, Johanna and Congreve, Emma (2022) Epilepsy and Employment : a Scoping Exercise for Epilepsy Scotland. University of Strathclyde, Glasgow.

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Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological conditions around the world, affecting an estimated 50 million people (WHO, 2019). Labour market data shows that people with epilepsy experience disadvantage in employment and underemployment. Inconsistencies and gaps in the data available on epilepsy and employment, however, make unclear the extent and scope of this disadvantage. Employment is an important component of social inclusion. It provides individual purpose and a platform for membership and identity (Jahoda, 1982). It provides integration into and acceptance by others in society (Baker, 2005). Employment and good quality work are associated with wellbeing (Stanley and Tiltson in Jacoby, 1995). It is as important, and arguably more so (Ben et al, 2021) for people with epilepsy who are more likely than the labour force more generally to have experienced years of disadvantage in accessing this important component of quality of life (Smeets et al, 2007). The purpose of this report is to review and update discussion of epilepsy and employment. The review seeks to identity relevant data and data gaps as well as to highlight the forms of support and intervention that can improve employment opportunities and work experience for people with epilepsy. It focuses on the extent of existing disadvantage they face and the factors that contribute to or alleviate this disadvantage. While the purpose of the review is to consider epilepsy and employment in Scotland, there are significant challenges in obtaining relevant Scottish data. Therefore, this report draws mainly on UK data but where possible focusses on implications for Scotland.