What Education Means to People with Psychiatric Disabilities: A Content Analysis Academic Article uri icon


  • This article examines what supported education means to people coping with psychiatric disabilities and tries to understand whether the educational endeavor has an additional personal value for the consumers beyond its instrumental value. It identifies rehabilitation domains that are most important and best achieved within supported education. Our approach is qualitative: we analyze letters written by students with psychiatric disabilities who have successfully completed high school courses and, through content analysis, identify 45 parameters that illuminate the meaning of the experience for the students. We analyze these parameters in terms of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. We find that for our population education is also a process of recovery of lost roles and capabilities and fulfills self-actualization needs. The shift from the “patient” to the “student” role is a very powerful one. To exchange the patient role for one that brings with it prestige and power promotes rehabilitation in ways that “merely” receiving societal support and acquiring specific skills can rarely achieve.

publication date

  • January 1, 2007