Psychosis and the Experience of Employment

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Although unemployment is common among those diagnosed with psychotic illnesses, few studies have looked directly at the experience of those who have gained competitive paid employment subsequent to being diagnosed. This study explored the experiences of people diagnosed with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder in relation to paid employment.


Eight participants with experience of paid employment were interviewed. The data were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) [Smith et al. (In: Murray, Chamberlain, editors) Qualitative health psychology, 1999].


Three super-ordinate themes; ‘Coping’, ‘Interpersonal support and reactions’, and ‘Personal change’ were identified.


Interpersonal support seemed to be lacking in workplaces, where discrimination was a reality for people with psychosis. Further study into what facilitates coping with symptoms in the workplace is needed.

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