Return to the labour market in schizophrenia and other psychoses: a register-based Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966 study

Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol. 2021 Sep;56(9):1645-1655. doi: 10.1007/s00127-020-02009-1. Epub 2021 Jan 5.


Purpose: The prospects and predictors of returning to the labour market after long-term work disability in psychoses are unclear. Our aim was to study the proportion and characteristics of persons with schizophrenia and other psychoses who return to the labour market after receiving a disability pension.

Methods: In this 50-year follow-up study in the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966 (NFBC1966), national registers on demographics, care, and disability pensions were used to detect and characterize individuals who had been on a disability pension for psychiatric reasons. We compared individuals with schizophrenia (SZ, n = 223) or other psychoses (OP, n = 200) to those with non-psychotic psychiatric disorders (NP, n = 1815) regarding demographics and end of pension by cross-tabulations and logistic regression.

Results: Of the 170 (74%) persons with SZ who had been on disability pension for a psychiatric reason, 15 (9%) returned to the labour market. Corresponding percentages were 19% for OP and 28% for NP. In SZ, being married, a later onset age of psychosis, and better school performance, and in OP and NP, having children predicted returning to the labour market. In all groups, a shorter length of the latest disability pension associated with returning to the labour market.

Conclusion: Although rare, it is possible to return to the labour market after a disability pension due to psychosis. Factors predicting a return to the labour market could be taken into account when planning rehabilitation.

Keywords: Disability pension; Labour market; Psychosis; Recovery; Schizophrenia.

MeSH terms

  • Disabled Persons*
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders*
  • Pensions
  • Psychotic Disorders* / epidemiology
  • Schizophrenia* / epidemiology