Analyses of Employment Incentives and Barriers for Individuals With Psychiatric Disabilities

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Objective: Individuals with psychiatric disabilities experience 90% unemployment rates; however, individuals experience 61% employment rates when engaged in high-fidelity individual placement and support programs. To build on current research of variables influencing employment outcomes, we hypothesized that an Incentive factor and a Barrier factor are related to employment status. This mixed method study developed the Employment Commitment Measure (ECM) and explored the correlation between employment commitment and employment status. Method: In our 1st phase of this mixed method study, we developed the ECM consisting of an Incentive factor with 5 items and a Barrier factor with 6 items through community-based participatory research. In our 2nd phase of this mixed method study, 198 randomly picked individuals with psychiatric disabilities completed a demographic survey and the ECM. We completed independent sample t tests with Bonferroni correction, cross-tabulated chi-square analyses, confirmatory factor analysis, Cronbach's alpha tests, a logistic regression, and a slope plotting. Results: The ECM consists of 11 items, with 5 items loading on an Incentive factor and 6 items loading on a Barrier factor. Results indicated that the Incentive factor scores were associated with employment status and significant differences on Incentive factor scores between employed and unemployed participants. Results indicated nonsignificant differences between employed and unemployed participants by age, education, gender, ethnicity, housing, mental health tenure, and agency tenure. Conclusions: Our findings indicated incentives for employment may provide a better guide for correlations of and commitment to employment when compared to barriers. We discuss the implications for employment for individuals with psychiatric disabilities.

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