The Arab minority of East Jerusalem: An exploratory study of vocational rehabilitation in mental health

Samah Kheir, Lena Lipskaya-Velikovsky*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: The Arab population of East Jerusalem with serious mental illness (SMI) is an ethnic and health status minority that has unique employment issues. Vocational rehabilitation offered to this population is guided by standard regulations that are grounded in knowledge obtained from Western communities on the employment enablers, while negligible research was done to investigate relevance of these enablers for the Arab population. OBJECTIVE: The study aims to examine the previously well-established association between motor, cognitive, and emotional personal factors, occupation features, environmental characteristics, and vocational outcomes of job satisfaction and performance among the Arab population of East Jerusalem with SMI. METHODS: Twenty-three men and women, aged 23-58, from this minority group who had received vocational rehabilitation participated in this cross-sectional study. They completed standard assessments of motor and cognitive skills, self-efficacy, work-environment suitability, and job satisfaction. Employers then rated their level of functioning at work. RESULTS: No correlation was found between the outcome measurements and most of the personal factors and environmental characteristics (p > 0.05), except for an association between job satisfaction, work self-efficacy, and work control. No expected differences were found between vocational rehabilitation programs in the variables of interest (p > 0.05). CONCLUSION: The disparity from well-established patterns of association between enablers and employment outcomes reveals unique characteristics of the investigated population and suggests the impact cultural issues has on vocational rehabilitation. The findings raise an urgent call for an in-depth investigation of the complex phenomenon of employment in this population to support sustainable employment benefits and recovery journey.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1379-1392
Number of pages14
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

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© 2023 - IOS Press. All rights reserved.


  • cognition
  • environment
  • motor functioning
  • satisfaction with job
  • self-efficacy
  • Supported employment
  • sustainable employment


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