Empowerment in supported employment research and practice: is it relevant?

The Vårdal Institute, The Swedish Institute for Health Sciences, Lund University, Lund, Sweden.
International Journal of Social Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 1.15). 11/2011; 57(6):588-95. DOI: 10.1177/0020764010376606
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This cross-sectional study is aimed at describing and investigating empowerment and its relationships with level of engagement in daily activities and community life, experienced stigma, psychopathology, and quality of life among people with mental illness entering supported employment.
The following scales were administered to 120 persons: Empowerment Scale, Profiles of Occupational Engagement Scale, Manchester Short Assessment of Quality of Life Scale, Rejection Experience Scale and Brief Psychiatric and Rating Scale.
Higher scores of empowerment were associated with fewer symptoms and experienced stigma, a higher level of engagement in daily activities and community life, better quality of life and having work rehabilitation. Self-efficacy and self-esteem were in particular significantly correlated to depressive symptoms. Descriptive statistics enveloped the group of participants that said 'Yes I want to work' with a somewhat high mean score for empowerment, level of engagement and quality of life, but a low mean score with regard to both symptoms and experienced stigma.
This study advocates the importance of evaluating empowerment in supported employment research and practice. The findings suggest the importance of taking into account not only monetary aspects of having a job but also social and psychological aspects such as empowerment, reduction in experienced stigma and community integration.

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