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Vocational Functioning in Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorders: Does Apathy Matter?

Bull, Helen MA; Ueland, Torill PhD, MSc; Lystad, June Ullevoldsæter MSc; Evensen, Stig MSc; Martinsen, Egil Wilhelm MD, PhD; Falkum, Erik MD, PhD

The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: August 2016 - Volume 204 - Issue 8 - p 599–605
doi: 10.1097/NMD.0000000000000504
Original Articles

While the influence of negative symptoms on vocational outcome is well documented, the specific contribution of apathy is less explored. The current study examined the influence of apathy on vocational outcome. A total of 148 participants were included in a vocational rehabilitation study, offering cognitive remediation (CR) or cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) to address work-related issues. Clinical and functional measures were assessed on inclusion and at posttreatment after approximately 10 months. The level of apathy was not related to the acquisition of work, but higher levels of apathy predicted fewer hours worked per week during the study. Previous employment predicted future employment, and higher education predicted more hours worked and higher score on the Work Behavior Inventory. The results did not differ across interventions. Thus, despite apathy, people with schizophrenia were able to work when the barriers to employment were addressed and adequate support was given.

*Division of Mental Health and Addiction, Department of Research and Development, Oslo University Hospital; and †Department of Psychology and ‡Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway.

Send reprint requests to Helen Bull, MA, Department of Research, Oslo University Hospital, PO Box 4959 Nydalen, 0424 Oslo, Norway. E-mail:

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