, Volume 28, Issue 4, pp 481-494

Moving Beyond the Illness: Factors Contributing to Gaining and Maintaining Employment

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access

Abstract

The work presented here, exploratory in nature, uses a comparative and qualitative approach to understand the factors associated with the ability of individuals with severe and persistent mental illness to successfully gain and maintain employment. Based on open-ended interviews with individuals in an Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) program, we compare the experiences of those who have been successful gaining and maintaining employment, with those who have been successful gaining but not maintaining work, and those who have been unsuccessful gaining employment. The three groups seemed to differ in three significant ways: (1) in the ways the individuals talked about their illness, (2) in the ways the individuals talked about work, and (3) in the strategies they described for coping with bad days. In each of these areas individuals' awareness of and attitude toward their illness was significant. The findings have clear implications for agencies working to help people with severe and persistent mental illness obtain and maintain employment.