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The Meaning and Importance of Employment to People in Recovery from Serious Mental Illness: Results of a Qualitative Study

The Meaning and Importance of Employment to People in Recovery from Serious Mental Illness:... Objective: Given the high rates of unemployment and underemployment among individuals with psychiatric disabilities, only a small number of studies have investigated the role work has in the lives of people who have been successful vocationally during their recovery from serious mental illness. This study sought to add to existing literature by determining how individuals perceive work and its effect on their recovery.Methods: We purposefully recruited self-referred participants at moderate to advanced levels of recovery and qualitatively analyzed semi-structured interviews conducted with 23 individuals to identify themes related to work in the context of recovery from serious mental illness.Results: Participants described myriad positive benefits associated with paid employment, which conceptually fell across two main domains: work has personal meaning and work promotes recovery. Participants discussed the ways in which work fostered pride and self-esteem, offered financial benefits, provided coping strategies for psychiatric symptoms, and ultimately facilitated the process of recovery. Participants also discussed the importance and benefits associated with working in a helper-role and as consumer providers.Conclusions: Overall, individuals reported that employment conferred significant benefits in their process of recovery from mental illness and that work played a central role in their lives and identities. The themes from this study should be considered when developing employment or other recovery-oriented programs for people with serious mental illness. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal American Psychological Association

The Meaning and Importance of Employment to People in Recovery from Serious Mental Illness: Results of a Qualitative Study

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Publisher
American Psychological Association
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 American Psychological Association
ISSN
1095-158x
eISSN
1559-3126
DOI
10.2975/32.1.2008.59.62
pmid
18614451
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Objective: Given the high rates of unemployment and underemployment among individuals with psychiatric disabilities, only a small number of studies have investigated the role work has in the lives of people who have been successful vocationally during their recovery from serious mental illness. This study sought to add to existing literature by determining how individuals perceive work and its effect on their recovery.Methods: We purposefully recruited self-referred participants at moderate to advanced levels of recovery and qualitatively analyzed semi-structured interviews conducted with 23 individuals to identify themes related to work in the context of recovery from serious mental illness.Results: Participants described myriad positive benefits associated with paid employment, which conceptually fell across two main domains: work has personal meaning and work promotes recovery. Participants discussed the ways in which work fostered pride and self-esteem, offered financial benefits, provided coping strategies for psychiatric symptoms, and ultimately facilitated the process of recovery. Participants also discussed the importance and benefits associated with working in a helper-role and as consumer providers.Conclusions: Overall, individuals reported that employment conferred significant benefits in their process of recovery from mental illness and that work played a central role in their lives and identities. The themes from this study should be considered when developing employment or other recovery-oriented programs for people with serious mental illness.

Journal

Psychiatric Rehabilitation JournalAmerican Psychological Association

Published: Jan 1, 2008

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