To investigate how day center attendees with psychiatric disabilities perceived their worker role and the importance of current work situation and personal factors in that respect.
Two-hundred attendees completed the Worker Role Self-assessment and questionnaires addressing possible predictors of the worker role: current employment situation, satisfaction with that situation, and a personal factor (encompassing self-esteem, self-mastery and engagement). Structural equation modeling was used.
A model indicated two worker role factors; belief in a future worker role (WR1) and current capacities and routines (WR2). WR1 was positively influenced by having a job, younger age and the personal factor. Satisfaction with current work situation (usually unemployment) was negatively associated with WR1. The personal factor was single predictor of WR2. The attendees rated WR2 more positively than WR1.
The personal factor was crucial for both WR1 and WR2. Work-related factors were only important for WR1. The more negative rating of belief in a future worker role may be interpreted as mistrust in the services. The attendees' positive ratings of capacities indicate, however, that they had a rehabilitation potential to develop. Enhancing self-esteem, mastery and engagement may be an avenue for staff in efforts to support the attendee's worker role.