Unemployment among patients with newly diagnosed first-episode psychosis: prevalence and clinical correlates in a US sample
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- Ramsay, C.E., Stewart, T. & Compton, M.T. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol (2012) 47: 797. doi:10.1007/s00127-011-0386-4
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Although it is well established that people with schizophrenia have markedly high rates of unemployment, less is known about the prevalence and clinical correlates of unemployment in patients newly diagnosed with first-episode psychosis. This analysis documented the prevalence of unemployment and examined previously reported clinical correlates of unemployment in patients with first-episode psychosis hospitalized in an urban, public-sector setting in the southeastern US.
Participants (n = 181) were assessed as part of an overarching study of first-episode psychosis using a variety of standardized research instruments. The rate of unemployment was compared to that documented in the general population according to US census data. Bivariate tests of associations between employment status and a number of variables of interest were followed by a multiple logistic regression model based on a previous study from Dublin, Ireland.
Some 65.0% of first-episode patients were unemployed in the month prior to hospital admission, which is substantially higher than the rate of unemployment during the same period in the two counties in which recruitment took place. In bivariate tests, unemployment was associated with younger age, fewer years of educational attainment, lower global functioning scores, and more severe negative symptoms. In the logistic regression model, only age and global functioning were independently significant correlates.
The remarkably high rate of unemployment in this young, first-episode sample, and the evidence of associations between unemployment, greater symptomatology, and poorer functioning, argue for further research and development on supported employment programs for such patients.