On life satisfaction and vocational rehabilitation outcome in Sweden

Sammanfattning: This dissertation has two parts. Firstly, satisfaction with life as a whole and with 10 life domains (using an instrument termed LiSat-11 with 6-graded scales) is described in a nationally representative sample aged 18-64 years (n: 2,533) and is related to some socio-demographic circumstances. Secondly, vocationally disabled people (n: 109) at an employability institute are prospectively followed in order to determine their life satisfaction and to identify early predictors of vocational rehabilitation outcome.Main results: Gender independently, 70 % of the national sample were satisfied with life as a whole (were happy). The ten domains formed a 4-factor pattern: ”Closeness, Health, Spare time, Provision”. Seven domains were sizeable predictors of overall life satisfaction. In a complex manner socio-demographics were predictive of (gross levels) all LiSat-11 items. Main predictors were perceived health, immigrant status and educational level. Generally, the vocational rehabilitees had low LiSat-11 levels except for the closeness items. They had relatively poor background resources (low “sense of coherence“ level) for successful coping. Whereas a positive rehabilitation outcome was accompanied by increases in several LiSat-11 aspects, only satisfaction with the vocational situation was clearly responsive. Three early predictors of outcome were identified: belief in vocational return, educational level and sense of coherence. In summary: Besides providing reference values for the LiSat-11 instrument, this dissertation demonstrates that different socio-demographic factors influence different areas of concern (domains) in 18- to 64-year-old Swedes. In turn, satisfaction derived from different areas heavily influences level of overall life satisfaction. Moreover, the vocational rehabilitees generally seemed to be predisposed to being poor copers, possibly a major background of low levels of many LiSat-11 aspects. The identified set of predictors of the outcome of vocational rehabilitation emphasizes a need for focusing on psycho-social aspects within vocational rehabilitation.