Relationship between vocational status and perceived stress and daily hassles in first-episode psychosis: an exploratory study
Vocational recovery is a primary treatment goal of young people with first-episode psychosis (FEP), yet treatment in this domain is often delayed due to concerns that it might be too stressful. This study aimed to examine whether a relationship exists between vocational status and level of perceived stress and daily hassles in FEP.
Forty-seven FEP participants were recruited upon admission to the Early Psychosis Prevention and Intervention Centre (EPPIC), Melbourne. Demographics, psychopathology, perceived stress (Perceived Stress Scale; PSS) and daily hassles (Hassles Scale; HS) were measured.
Regarding vocational status, 19 participants were unemployed, 13 were employed, 14 were students, and 1 reported ‘home duties’. ANOVAs and post hoc tests comparing the first three groups on perceived stress and daily hassles revealed that the mean PSS Total and mean PSS Distress scores of the employed group were significantly lower than those of the unemployed and student groups. Regarding hassles scores, the employed group had a significantly lower mean Hassles Intensity score than the unemployed group. Results were largely unchanged when covariates were included. There were no significant differences between the three groups in levels of anxiety, negative or positive symptoms. The employed group reported lower depression than the student group, but this finding disappeared after controlling for gender.
These results provide preliminary evidence supporting the notion that working or studying is not associated with increased perceived stress or daily hassles in FEP. The findings require replication in larger samples and in different phases of psychosis.