On the Vocational Pathway to Recovery: Vocational Decisions in Mental Illness
Objective: In the field of career-counselling significant attention has been given to vocation and career-related thinking and cognitions in research as well as in interventions supporting personal and vocational development. In contrast, little if any attention has been given to vocational cognitions in the study of those mental disorders that cause disabling symptoms and disrupt employment. Studies of vocational and rehabilitation outcomes tended to focus on the impact of psychopathology itself, cognitive functioning and related phenomena such as stigmatisation. There is no particular reason that job seekers with mental disorders and those without mental disorders should be regarded differently. Indeed understanding vocational cognition in mental disorder may enhance vocational outcomes and personal development for affected individuals. Here, the objective is to test whether career choice certainty and dysfunctional career beliefs can predict remission and functioning, recovery and assertive job-hunting behaviour. Method: Participants (n = 109) with severe mental disorders attending community outpatient services completed interviews, self-report measures and tasks assessing vocational cognitions, symptom severity, cognitive functioning, hope and self-esteem, recovery and stigma. Path analyses were used to ascertain whether hope and self-esteem play a major role for factors associated with remission and recovery, whether a stigma-related model of factors associated with remission and recovery can be replicated, and whether an alternative model using career decision indices can predict remission and recovery factors. Results: There was evidence that higher career choice certainty and lesser dysfunctional career beliefs predicted symptom remission, functioning and recovery outcomes. Career decidedness did not predict assertiveness in job-hunting but dysfunctional thoughts about vocation did. Hope and self-esteem were important predictors of remission and recovery. The stigma related model could not be replicated sufficiently. Conclusion: The findings suggest that vocational cognition predicts symptom remission outcomes and key measures of recovery in major mental disorders. Keeping in mind the limitations of cross-sectional design, it may be that career decisions and thoughts offer an important target for enhancing recovery from employment disrupting mental disorders.
Advisor: Linscott, Richard
Degree Name: Master of Science
Degree Discipline: Dept. of Psychology
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: Severe Mental Disorders; Recovery; Vocational Thoughts; Decidedness; Job Hunting Behaviour; Employment; Mental Health Rehabilitation; Career Counselling
Research Type: Thesis