Year of Publication

2009

Date of Thesis

10-2009

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Occupational Therapy

Abstract

Schizophrenia is a highly complex mental illness with unique symptoms that often present in an unpredictable and inconsistent manner. For this reason, the symptoms of schizophrenia can cause great detriment to an individual with schizophrenia's ability to engage in occupation, including paid or volunteer work. Evidence has shown that engagement in paid or volunteer work can have positive effects on a person with schizophrenia's quality of life and ability to recover from their mental illness. This study aimed to determine the personal factors, environmental factors, and occupational factors affecting the ability of an individual with schizophrenia to engage in paid or volunteer work. These findings will be applied to rehabilitation treatment interventions for individuals with schizophrenia. To develop an understanding of the factors affecting the ability and desire for individuals with schizophrenia to engage in paid or volunteer work, surveys were distributed throughout peer-run organizations to individuals with schizophrenia who were currently engaged in paid or volunteer work in Central and Northern New York State. Surveys were also made available via the internet. Interviews with two individuals with schizophrenia who were currently engaged in paid work occurred to develop a more in depth understanding of the quantitative findings. Descriptive statistics, frequency tables, and qualitative data were examined for common trends. Due to a low survey response rate, findings of this study were not significant. However, the results of this study do suggest that the interaction of personal factors, environmental factors, and occupational factors affecting engagement in paid or volunteer work may be more complex than first anticipated. It can also be suggested that all factors addressed in the survey do in fact affect a person with schizophrenia's ability and/or desire to engage in paid or volunteer work. This study serves as a pilot study for future research.

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