Professionals and managers with severe mental illnesses: findings from a national survey

J Nerv Ment Dis. 2008 Mar;196(3):179-89. doi: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e318166303c.


This study explores the capacity of individuals with severe mental illness to be employed in managerial or professional jobs and the correlates of their vocational success. Using purposive sampling techniques, we identified a national sample of 347 individuals for a mail survey who had succeeded in obtaining and retaining mid to upper level managerial or professional positions. The majority worked full-time and held their job for more than 2 years. Their vocational success was operationalized based on 4 employment outcomes: employment status (full-time vs. part-time), job tenure, occupational rank, and annual income. Key factors that contributed to respondents' vocational success were lesser severity of the illness as indicated by lack of lifetime receipt of disability benefits, capacity to manage one's own psychiatric condition, and higher education. Study findings point to the role of supported education and self-efficacy in promoting the employment outcomes among individuals with severe mental illnesses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Demography
  • Employment / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Mental Disorders / psychology*
  • Mental Disorders / rehabilitation
  • Middle Aged
  • Observer Variation
  • Personnel Management / statistics & numerical data*
  • Prevalence
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States / epidemiology