Attitudes Toward Disclosing a Mental Health Problem and Reemployment: A Longitudinal Study

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Abstract

Despite low unemployment rates, individuals with mental health problems often struggle to gain reemployment. Many face the decision whether to disclose their mental illness to employers. This study therefore examined the role of disclosure attitudes for reemployment over time. Clinical and job search variables as well as attitudes toward disclosing a mental health issue to an employer were assessed among 301 unemployed individuals with mental health problems. Predictors of reemployment at 6-month follow-up were assessed using multiple regression, adjusted for sociodemographic variables, unemployment length, and depressive symptoms. Greater reluctance to disclose mental health problems at baseline predicted reemployment after 6 months. Reemployment was also associated with male sex, better education, lower disability levels, and more job offers at baseline. Therefore, a cautious approach toward disclosing a mental health problem may facilitate short-term reemployment. It is unclear whether this is a successful long-term strategy in employment settings.

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