Self-stigma and fears of employment among adults with psychiatric disabilities

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Hielscher, Emily
Waghorn, Geoff
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2017
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Introduction: Although mental illness stigma has been extensively investigated, it is not known whether stigma experiences increase general fears of employment and impact on employment goals and on attaining employment. The aims of this study were to develop and trial brief measures of employment values and employment fears that could be used to further investigate any impacts of community stigma on personal employment goals. Method: The psychometric properties of a new Employment Fears Scale and an Employment Values Scale were examined over a 2–4-week period, following repeated administration to 25 adult community residents with severe mental illness. Concurrent validity with respect to experiences of stigma, self-stigma, and current and previous employment were also examined. Results: Employment fears and employment values can be reliably measured. Employment fears were more closely related to selfstigma than either current employment or employment over the previous year. Conclusion: The Employment Fears Scale in particular appears to be useful for investigating stigma-related barriers to employment among people with psychiatric disabilities. Occupational therapists can use these tools to explore how those fears might be reduced through tailored interventions aiming to improve an individual’s employment prospects in vocational rehabilitation.

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British Journal of Occupational Therapy
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80
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12
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Clinical Sciences not elsewhere classified
Clinical Sciences
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