Prediction of vocational participation and global role functioning in help-seeking young adults, from neurocognitive, demographic and clinical variables

Cairns, Alice J., Kavanagh, David J., Dark, Frances, and McPhail, Steven M. (2017) Prediction of vocational participation and global role functioning in help-seeking young adults, from neurocognitive, demographic and clinical variables. Journal of Affective Disorders, 221. pp. 158-164.

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Background: The purpose of this study was to investigate neurocognitive, demographic and clinical correlates of vocational participation among a sample of young help-seeking adults.

Methods: Young people (18-25 years) accessing an early intervention youth health service participated. The Global Functioning: Role scale and level of vocational participation, participant characteristics (age, gender, socioeconomic background and family history of serious mental illness), distress, psychotic-like experiences, substance use, and mental health diagnoses were recorded. The Cambridge Neuropsychological Testing Automated Battery was used to assess sustained attention, visual memory and executive function.

Results: Of the 107 participants, 33 (31%) were not working or studying and 52 (49%) had a diagnosis of affective disorder. Impairments in neurocognitive tests were evidenced in attention shift, sustained attention target sensitivity, impulsivity and spatial working memory errors. Univariate analyses indicated that information processing and target impulsivity were associated with both vocational participation and global functioning, and that spatial working memory strategy was also associated with vocational participation. After controlling for significant demographic and clinical predictors, strategy formation remained a significant correlate of vocational participation (coefficient (95%CI) = -0.08 (-0.17, -0.01)), but no neurocognitive measures remained significant in the multivariate prediction of global functioning.

Limitations: Neurocognitive outcomes were assessed at a single time point, factors such as fluctuations in motivation could impact on test results.

Conclusions: Interventions targeting work and education participation should consider the capacity of vulnerable young people to develop appropriate plans for role success and provide support accordingly. The study also emphasised the importance of high school completion and avoidance of cannabis use, especially in males.

Item ID: 50711
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1573-2517
Keywords: neurocognition, CANTAB, early intervention, vocational functioning, psychiatry, youth
Funders: Australian Government (AG), National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia (NHMRC).
Projects and Grants: AG Australian Postgraduate Award, NHMRC Fellowship SMM#1090440
Date Deposited: 20 Sep 2017 11:15
FoR Codes: 39 EDUCATION > 3903 Education systems > 390301 Continuing and community education @ 50%
52 PSYCHOLOGY > 5203 Clinical and health psychology > 520302 Clinical psychology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9301 Learner and Learning > 930102 Learner and Learning Processes @ 50%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences @ 50%
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