Indexed on: 01 Jun '11Published on: 01 Jun '11Published in: International Journal of Mental Health Systems
Gainful employment is one major area of functioning which is becoming an important goal in psychiatric rehabilitation of patients with schizophrenia. Studies in western countries are pointing to evidence that certain sociodemographic and clinical factors may contribute to employment outcomes in this group of people. However, the area is still largely unexplored in Malaysia. The aim of this study was to examine the sociodemographic, clinical and cognitive correlates of employment status among patients with Schizophrenia.This was a cross-sectional study. All participants who fulfilled the requirements of the study according to the inclusion and exclusion criteria were enrolled. Study instruments included a demographic data questionnaire, Positive and Negative Symptom Scale (PANSS), Trail Making Tests, Rey's Auditory Verbal Learning Test (RAVLT) and Digit Span. Bivariate analyses were done using chi-square for categorical data and t-test for continuous data and multiple logistic regression analysis was done to identify predictors of employment status.A total of 95 participants who fulfilled the inclusion criteria were enrolled into the study. Among the sociodemographic, clinical and cognitive variables studied marital status, educational level, mean scores of negative symptoms, Digit Span and RAVLT and Trail Making Tests were found to show significant association with employment status on bivariate analyses. However, when entered into a logistic regression model, only cognitive variables ie. Trail A and B, Digit Span and RAVLT were significant predictors of employment status.The results from this study support the role of cognitive function, particularly, attention, working memory and executive functioning on attaining and maintaining employment in persons with schizophrenia as measured by the RAVLT, Digit Span and Trail Making Tests. These findings may act as preliminary evidence suggesting the importance of integrating cognitive rehabilitation in the psychosocial rehabilitation program for patients with schizophrenia in Malaysia.