Patterns of employment among individuals with mental illness in vocational recovery

J Psychosoc Nurs Ment Health Serv. 2007 Dec;45(12):48-54. doi: 10.3928/02793695-20071201-09.


This article provides empirical evidence about the patterns of competitive employment among individuals with serious mental illness who are in vocational recovery. The findings are based on a 5-year longitudinal study on sustained employment, conducted with a national sample of 529 individuals with serious mental illness who were in vocational recovery at the time of study enrollment. Data analysis from the 328 participants who completed the study-from baseline through all five annual follow-up assessments-revealed three different postrecovery employment patterns: continuous, stable, and fluctuating. Although many participants demonstrated the capacity to sustain competitive employment during prolonged periods of time, others experienced employment interruptions. Work interruptions were most frequently attributed to exacerbation of psychiatric symptoms. Schizophrenia spectrum disorder, difficulties with daily functioning, and current receipt of disability benefits predicted the psychiatric-based work interruptions in this sample. Implications for clinical practice are also discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Demography
  • Employment / psychology*
  • Employment / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Mental Disorders / psychology*
  • Prevalence
  • Rehabilitation, Vocational*