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Schizophr Res. 2012 Jul;138(2-3):233-9. doi: 10.1016/j.schres.2012.04.007. Epub 2012 Apr 29.

A 10-year study of steady employment and non-vocational outcomes among people with serious mental illness and co-occurring substance use disorders.

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Dartmouth Psychiatric Research Center, Rivermill Commercial Center, 85 Mechanic Street, Suite B4-1, Lebanon, NH 03766, USA.



Employment promotes recovery for persons with serious mental illness by providing extra income and a valued social role, but the impact of employment on other psychosocial and clinical outcomes remains unclear. This study examined non-vocational outcomes in relation to steady employment over 10 years among people with serious mental illness and co-occurring substance use disorders.


Researchers interviewed people with co-occurring disorders at baseline and yearly for 10 years and tracked employment in relation to five non-vocational outcomes: independent living, psychiatric symptoms, substance use disorder, healthy (non-substance-abusing) relationships, and life satisfaction. Latent class trajectory analysis identified steady workers, and mixed-effects regression models compared steady workers with non-workers.


Both steady workers (n=51) and non-workers (n=79) improved substantially; for example, a majority of each group achieved independent housing and stable remission of substance use disorders. Steady workers achieved independent housing and higher quality of life during the first 5 years of follow-up, but the two groups achieved similar outcomes by 10 years.


People with co-occurring disorders can improve markedly. Those with steady employment may improve faster, but those without employment may achieve similar long-term outcomes at a slower pace.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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