PURPOSE. The study purpose was to construct a predictive model of subjective quality of life for persons with severe mental illness living in the community with particular attention to participation in occupations.

METHOD. Persons with severe mental illness (N = 154) rated their subjective quality of life. Several measures for each of the following categories of variables were completed: demographics, clinical, social participation, and self-measured well-being. Regression analysis was used to determine the significant predictors for each category and then to build the predictive model from these significant variables.

RESULTS. Symptom distress accounted for the most variance (33%) in subjective quality of life, followed by psychological integration (3%) and physical integration (2%).

CONCLUSIONS. The study suggests that occupational therapists should attend to subjective experience of symptoms to influence quality of life. Therapists are also in a good position to address their clients’ sense of belonging to their communities and to enable community participation.

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