Psychoses are associated with poor labour market attachment, but few studies have compared schizophrenia (SZ) and other psychoses (OP). Moreover, studies on long-term employment trajectories over individuals’ working life courses are lacking. We compared 30 year employment trajectory patterns in a general population sample among individuals with SZ, OP, and those with no psychosis (NP).
Utilising the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966, we collected survey data on employment from ages 16 to 45 and detected individuals with register-based history of SZ (n = 62), OP (n = 87), or NP (n = 6464) until age 46. Through gender-specific latent class analyses on annual employment roles, we identified traditional, highly educated, self-employed, delayed and floundering employment trajectories with distinct socioeconomic characteristics. We addressed attrition by conducting weighted analyses.
Floundering trajectories were common among individuals with SZ (79% of men, 73% of women) and OP (52% of men, 51% of women). In NP, a traditional employee trajectory was most common in men (31%), and a highly educated trajectory in women (28%). A history of psychosis was associated with heightened odds ratios (ORs; 95% confidence intervals (CIs)) for floundering trajectories in both men (SZ: 32.9 (13.3–81.4); OP: 7.4 (4.0–13.9)) and women (SZ: 9.9 (4.6–21.5); OP: 3.9 (2.1–7.1)) compared to NP. Weighted analyses produced similar results.
Most individuals with SZ or OP have floundering employee trajectories reflecting an elevated risk of unemployment and part-time work until midlife. These results indicate the importance of improving labour market attachment during the early phases of psychoses.