Time use provides one means to study the lifestyles and community participation of people with disabilities. Previous clinical studies suggest that people with a mental illness experience difficulty in using their time meaningfully. This study examines the time use of 229 adults diagnosed with schizophrenia from an epidemiological survey in London, England. Twenty-four hour time budgets were collected and time use was calculated for 10 major categories of occupations.
Few of the participants were engaged in work, active leisure, education or volunteer occupations, their predominant occupations being sleeping, personal care and passive leisure. The women spent significantly more time in domestic occupations and less time in passive leisure occupations than the men. The younger participants spent significantly more time in social occupations than the other age-groups. The older participants, and those attending day centres, spent most time in passive leisure.
These findings indicate that many people diagnosed with schizophrenia are not engaged in occupations that support active lifestyles or social inclusion, highlighting the need to improve their opportunities to participate in mainstream social, active and productive occupations. Occupational therapists must work with service users and agencies beyond the mental health system to enable service users' participation in such occupations. Barriers to participation also require further exploration to address these occupational needs better.