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Disclosure and Quality of Life Among Unemployed Individuals With Mental Health Problems

A Longitudinal Study

Rüsch, Nicolas, MD*; Malzer, Alexandra*; Oexle, Nathalie, PhD*; Waldmann, Tamara, MA*; Staiger, Tobias, PhD*; Bahemann, Andreas, MD; Wigand, Moritz E., MD*; Becker, Thomas, MD*; Corrigan, Patrick W., PsyD

The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: March 2019 - Volume 207 - Issue 3 - p 137–139
doi: 10.1097/NMD.0000000000000914
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Unemployment and mental disorders are associated with impaired quality of life. Because of the stigma associated with mental illness, unemployed individuals with mental health problems face the difficult decision whether to disclose their condition to others. Disclosure has both risks and benefits, and it is unclear how it affects quality of life. We therefore examined disclosure attitudes at baseline as predictors of quality of life after 6 months and also assessed social support, depressive symptoms, self-stigma, and perceived discrimination among 301 unemployed individuals with mental health problems. Better quality of life at follow-up was predicted by better attitudes toward disclosure among family and friends, shorter length of unemployment, less symptoms, and, at a trend level, less self-stigma at baseline. Thus disclosure in one's private environment may improve quality of life among unemployed individuals with mental health problems.

*Department of Psychiatry II, University of Ulm and BKH Günzburg, Ulm;

Federal Employment Agency, Nürnberg, Germany; and

Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, IL.

Send reprint requests to Nicolas Rüsch, MD, Department of Psychiatry II, University of Ulm and BKH Günzburg, Parkstrasse 11, 89073 Ulm, Germany. E-mail: nicolas.ruesch@uni-ulm.de.

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