Can employment positively affect the recovery of people with psychiatric disabilities?
Objective: This study explored the relationship between employment and recoveryin individuals with psychiatric disabilities and proposed that participants whowere employed would have higher levels of recovery than participants who werenot employed. Methods: Data were analysed from a pre-existing data-set producedin a large scale NHMRC project conducted as part of the AustralianIntegrated Mental Health Initiative (AIMhi), High Support Stream. Participantswere 344 people with a range of psychiatric illnesses who received support from11 public sector and non-government mental health organizations in Queenslandand New South Wales, Australia. Scores on the Recovery Assessment Scale (RAS)were compared between those participants who were engaged in paid employmentand those who were not. Results: The results revealed that there was no differencein total recovery scores between those who worked and those who didnot work. This finding indicated that higher recovery scores were not associatedwith participants who were employed. Also contrary to expectations, the resultsshowed that workers scored lower than non-workers on the RAS factor describedas "reliance on others" and there was a trend towards significance in the samedirection on the factor "willingness to ask for help." Conclusions and Implicationsfor Practice: Further research needs to be conducted to determine if the differencesbetween workers and non-workers on the above factors represent a personalvariable such as independence or self-determination that is associated withindividuals with psychiatric disabilities that are engaged in employment.Rehabilitation interventions aimed at increasing levels of employment in peoplewith psychiatric disabilities could improve recovery and employment outcomesthrough focusing on these personal variables.