Individuals with mental disabilities: perceptions of work limitations

Document Type



Master of Science (MS)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor's Name

Patricia J. Scott

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Barbara L. Kornblau

Third Advisor's Name

Susan H. Kaplan

Date of Defense



This research investigates the perceptions that individuals with mental illnesses have about the employment experience as a whole. Survey data from 72 respondents with mental disabilities were used to identify areas of perceived work limitations. Comparisons regarding employee work performance were made between eleven individuals with mental disabilities and their supervisors. Functional limitations identified by respondents with mental disabilities and the characteristic symptoms set forth in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders were compared. Overall findings showed that individuals with mental disabilities in this study had problems in the areas of judgment, initiative, interacting and rapport with co-workers and supervisors, frustration tolerance and coping with job stress, and adapting to changes at work. Comparison of identified work task difficulties with diagnostic criteria indicate active symptomatology to have an effect on job performance. Recommendations regarding occupational therapy assessment approaches and roles to facilitate ADA implementation are presented.



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