Objective: Predictors of employment outcomes of individuals with schizophrenia have continued to be studied over the past decade with implications for the development of vocational interventions to help the mentally ill get and keep jobs.
Methods: A total of 62 relevant studies since 1998 were systematically reviewed by means of meta-analysis and frequency counts. Frequency count allowed all 62 studies to be included, whereas the meta-analysis excluded studies with inadequate information but made it possible to estimate the magnitude of effects.
Results: Both methods resulted in similar findings. In contrast to an earlier review, cognitive functioning received overwhelming support as a significant predictor. Other significant predictors included education, negative symptoms, social support and skills, age, work history (previous history of successful employment), and rehabilitation service to restore community functioning and well-being by occupational therapists, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and other mental health professionals. Positive symptoms, substance abuse, gender and hospitalization history were found to be non-significant predictors. The frequency count did not support marital status as a significant predictor but the meta-analysis did.
Conclusions: This review highlights increasing sophistication in understanding the links between individual characteristics and functional impairments. It also suggests that more research is needed into other potentially important predictors that may be changeable and relate to recovery. These include attitudes and beliefs about disability payments and psychological processes such as self-stigmatization, negative beliefs, and social skills deficits for which intervention may be possible.