Earning and learning among Australian community residents with psychiatric disorders
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At a population level the extent that psychiatric disorders and other health conditions disrupt participation in education and employment is rarely considered simultaneously and remains largely unknown. This is an important issue because policy makers are as concerned with educational attainment, school to work transitions, and workforce skills, as they are with overall labour force participation. We investigated earning or learning, and educational attainment, among Australian community residents by age group and by category of psychiatric disorder. Data files were provided by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) from a population survey conducted in 2003 using a multi-stage probability sample (N = 23,787). Adults with schizophrenia, depression, and anxiety disorders were compared to (1) working age adults with other non-psychiatric health conditions and disabilities; and (2) healthy adults of working age. Participation in formal education and employment was extensively disrupted by all health conditions and by psychiatric disorders in particular. The extent of career-related disruption provides benchmarks for policy makers and service providers attempting to increase participation in formal education and in the labour force.