Chinese cultural dynamics of unemployability of male adults with psychiatric disabilities in Hong Kong

Kam Shing Yip*, Petrus Y N NG

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    14 Citations (Scopus)


    Work and employment has long been regarded as crucial for the mental health of human beings. Unemployment may lead to deterioration of physical and mental health. Nevertheless, for adults with psychiatric disabilities, discontinuity of employment is common. They may have various reasons to discontinue their employment. In Hong Kong, only 2.5% of people with psychiatric disabilities discharged from sheltered workshops are able to seek open employment. By means of illustration, the authors will show that traditional Chinese work culture tends to reinforce the discontinuity of employment of adult males with psychiatric disabilities. In Chinese culture, work is a means to occupy time, control misbehavior, show consistency of words and deeds, and to glorify parents and ancestors. All these factors contribute to the fulfillment of an adult male role and identity in traditional Chinese culture. In this case history, instead of finding realistic employment, a male adult with psychiatric disability tried to indulge himself in what he felt was his ideal job to fulfill all requirement as an adult male in Chinese culture. The imaginative ideal job gave him excuses to discontinue open employment. Its implications to vocational rehabilitation with male adults with psychiatric disability are also discussed.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)197-202
    Number of pages6
    JournalPsychiatric Rehabilitation Journal
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2002

    Scopus Subject Areas

    • Health Professions (miscellaneous)
    • Rehabilitation
    • Psychiatry and Mental health


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