, Volume 45, Issue 3, pp 158-162

Gainful Employment Reduces Stigma Toward People Recovering from Schizophrenia

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Abstract

Stigma impedes the social integration of persons recovering from psychiatric disability, especially those with criminal histories. Little is known about factors that lessen this stigma. Four hundred and four adults listened to one of four vignettes describing a 25-year-old male with schizophrenia and responded to a standard set of items measuring social distance. The individual who was gainfully employed (vs. unemployed), or who had a prior misdemeanor (vs. felony) criminal offense, elicited significantly less stigma. Employment may destigmatize a person coping with both psychiatric disability and a criminal record. Mental health services should encourage paid employment and other paths to community integration.