Working or studying is a common goal among people with recent-onset psychosis. Cognitive deficits have been reported to influence occupational outcome, but to date few studies have evaluated if cognitive deficits independently predict occupational outcome when taking into account other important determinants, such as self-esteem, motivation, length of time absent from employment/school, job/school search behaviours, subjective cognitive complaints and psychotic symptoms. Hence, this longitudinal study aimed to evaluate the role of cognition, as well as other key factors relevant to occupational outcome, to predict occupational status six months after baseline in people with recent-onset psychosis. A total of 27 participants receiving treatment in rehabilitation programs were included in the study. Neuropsychological, psychological, clinical and occupational measures were administered at baseline, and occupational status was collected six months later. Ordinal regression indicated that working memory and length of time absent from employment/school at baseline predicted 48.1% of the variance of occupational status at six months, with both variables showing a unique significant contribution to the model. These results suggest that working memory could be integrated in comprehensive models of occupational outcome in people with recent-onset psychosis. In addition, supported employment and education programs could target cognitive deficits and length of time absent from employment/school to help these individuals to acquire a job or return to school given their strong predictive value on occupational outcome.
Keywords: Cognition; Cognitive remediation; Occupational outcome; Recent-onset psychosis; Recovery; Rehabilitation program.