Lifetime employment in schizophrenia: correlates of developing long term unemployment after being employed before

Cynthia Fundora, Maria Cruz, Katelyn Barone, David L. Penn, l. Frederik Jarskog, Amy E. Pinkham, Philip D. Harvey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Challenges in employment are highly prevalent among people with schizophrenia regardless of their employment history. Although supportive employment can be effective, few participants sustain meaningful competitive employment. Our goal was to identify the correlates of developing sustained unemployment. Methods: We examined employment outcomes by comparing clinical, neurocognitive, and social cognitive features in 234 participants with Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorders across t competitive employment outcomes: currently employed, participants who had never worked for a year, and those who had been employed but developed long-term unemployment. We examined social cognition and neurocognition, as well as positive and negative schizophrenia symptoms, and premorbid functioning and demographic factors. Results: We found significant differences in age, race, premorbid functioning, cognitive performance, and social cognition between currently and formerly employed patients. When individual tasks were examined, emotion recognition and verbal working memory performance were the domains differentiating the groups. Older African Americans were over-represented in the formerly employed group. Conclusions: There were minimal differences other than age and race between formerly employed patients and those who had never worked. These data suggest the possibility that deterioration in employment outcomes may also co-occur with declines in other abilities. Opportunities and disparities may also be a contributor to re-entering the work force.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)95-106
Number of pages12
JournalCognitive Neuropsychiatry
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2021


  • Employment
  • neurocognition
  • premorbid functioning
  • schizophrenia
  • social cognition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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