Measures and predictors of community-based employment and earnings of persons with schizophrenia in a multisite study

Psychiatr Serv. 2007 Mar;58(3):315-24. doi: 10.1176/ps.2007.58.3.315.


Objective: Data from a national study of persons with schizophrenia-related disorders were examined to determine clinical factors and labor-market conditions related to employment outcomes.

Methods: Data were obtained from the U.S. Schizophrenia Care and Assessment Program, a naturalistic study of more than 2,300 persons from organized care systems in six U.S. regions. Data were collected via surveys and from medical records and clinical assessments at baseline and for three years. Outcome measures included any community-based (nonsheltered) employment, 40 or more hours of work in the past month, employment at or above the federal minimum wage, days and hours of work, and earnings. Bivariate and multiple regression analyses of data from more than 7,000 assessments tested relationships between outcomes and sociodemographic, clinical, and local labor market characteristics.

Results: The employment rate was 17.2%; only 57.1% of participants who worked reported 40 or more hours of past-month employment. The mean hourly wage was $7.05, and mean monthly earnings were $494.20. Employment rates and number of hours worked were substantially below those found in household surveys or in baseline data from trials of employment programs but substantially higher than those found in a recent large clinical trial. Strong positive relationships were found between clinical factors and work outcomes, but evidence of a relationship between local unemployment rates and outcomes was weak.

Conclusions: Work attachment and earnings were substantially lower than in previous survey data, not very sensitive to labor market conditions, and strongly related to clinical status.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Community-Institutional Relations*
  • Data Collection
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Employment, Supported / economics*
  • Employment, Supported / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Maryland / epidemiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Salaries and Fringe Benefits / economics*
  • Schizophrenia / diagnosis
  • Schizophrenia / epidemiology*
  • Socioeconomic Factors