BACKGROUND: Little is known about the consequences of parental multiple sclerosis (MS) on offspring's socioeconomic circumstances.
OBJECTIVE: To investigate employment, disability pension and income in offspring of parents with MS compared with matched reference persons in a nationwide register-based cohort study.
METHODS: All Danish-born persons with onset of MS during 1950-1986 were retrieved from the Danish Multiple Sclerosis Registry. Their offspring were identified using the Civil Registration System. One random offspring from each sibship was matched by sex and year of birth with eight random reference persons.
RESULTS: We included 2456 MS offspring and 19,648 reference persons. At age 30, employment was lower among MS offspring than reference children (odds ratio (OR): 0.89; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.84-0.95; p = 0.0003), and they more often received disability pension (OR: 1.31; 95% CI: 1.15-1.50; p < 0.0001) at ages 30 and 40 but not at age 50. Although the mean income was not significantly lower for the MS offspring cohort, most of them attained an annual personal income below 250,000 DKK (Danish krone), that is, ~33,650 EUR (OR: 0.91; 95% CI: 0.84-0.99; p = 0.04).
CONCLUSION: Having had a parent with MS may affect employment and increase the risk of disability pension and low income in adult life.