Motivation for Work and School:

Assessing the impact of schizophrenia and related factors.

Studies show that lack of motivation for individuals with early-onset schizophrenia significantly predicts poorer work and school outcomes. Family support and expressed emotion have both been found to be essential factors in the success of employment and school for those experiencing a recent onset of schizophrenia. There is a lack of research, however, investigating the impact of parenting styles on schizophrenia and academic/employment outcomes.


DeTore NR, Balogun-Mwangi O, Tepper M, Cather C, Russinova Z, Lanca M, Mueser KT. The interrelationships of motivation, positive symptoms, stigma, and role functioning in early psychosis. Early Intervention in Psychiatry. 2021.

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This study aimed to: 1) examine factors previously found to be related to work and school outcomes in recent-onset schizophrenia (e.g. stigma, family support) and 2) determine barriers and facilitators of motivation for work and school.


Forty participants diagnosed with schizophrenia within the last five years were recruited from two Boston-area first episode psychosis programs. Participants spent about one hour and fifteen minutes with a clinician completing an audio-taped qualitative interview regarding motivation and a series of self and clinician-rated standardized measures, which assessed psychiatric symptoms, experiences of stigma, psychosocial functioning, and levels of parental support.


Stigma was not found to be related to motivation, however internalized stigma (stigma one believes about themselves) was related to work and school functioning. Symptoms of psychosis, such as seeing things that are not there or having an odd belief, were significantly related to both work/school functioning and motivation, with higher symptoms relating to less work/school functioning and lower motivation. Interestingly, motivation was an important factor in that relationship between symptoms and work/school functioning, indicating that motivation is an essential aspect predicting one’s work/school functioning.


This relationship may shed light on the link between motivation and work/school outcomes early in the course of psychosis, an area of critical importance for early intervention to increase quality of life in those experiencing psychosis.


Corinne Cather, PhD


Kim Mueser, PhD


Additional Collaborators

Oyenik Balgun-Mwangi, PhD; Nicole DeTore, PhD (Principal Investigator); Miriam Tepper, MD; Zlatka Russinova, PhD.


Funding for this project was provided by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research and the MGH COE/Massachusetts Department of Mental Health.