Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2009


mental illness, employment


The almost complete exclusion of individuals with severe mental illness from the workforce can be implicated in lost recovery opportunities and high societal healthcare costs. This study initially looks at how the motivational theories of Herzberg, Maslow, and McGregor offer a possible explanation for the problems that individuals with mental illness have in obtaining and maintaining employment. The analysis of result of a survey conducted in conjunction with the Mental Health Association of the Southern Tier led to the following findings: 1) the theories of Herzberg, Maslow, and McGregor explain the employment attitudes of these individuals without amendment; 2) employment attitudes are largely independent of the intensity of mental health services that consumers receive; 3) common demographic categories do not determine employment attitudes or work interests in a significant way; and 4) most consumers of mental health services want to work and believe they have the skills necessary to be successful in the workplace.