Category: Schizophrenia / Psychotic Disorders

Symposium

Are There Factors That Restrict the Benefits of Supported Employment for Individuals With Serious Mental Illness?

Saturday, November 18
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
Location: Aqua Salon E & F, Level 3, Aqua Level

Keywords: Evidence-Based Practice | Schizophrenia | Veterans
Presentation Type: Symposium

Supported employment is an evidence-based practice designed to help individuals with serious mental illness obtain and maintain competitive employment.  Key principles include a rapid job search, integration with mental health treatment services, and continuous follow-along support.  Data show that supported employment recipients are 2-3 times more likely to get a job than those receiving traditional vocational rehabilitation.  However, job tenure varies considerably across studies with mean tenure ranging from 10 weeks to over one year.  Hence, there is a need to identify factors that restrict optimal supported employment outcomes.


Data were combined across two studies.  The total sample included 192 participants with serious mental illness who were recently enrolled in their respective supported employment programs.  All participants received a baseline assessment of neurocognitive functioning using the MATRICS Consensus Cognitive Battery and psychiatric symptom severity using the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale.  Participants who got jobs received the Work Behavior Inventory after starting their job to assess early work behavior difficulties.  Work outcome data (weeks worked, hours worked per week, and wages earned per week) were collected over a 12-month follow-up period. 


No demographic, clinical history, neurocognitive, or psychiatric symptom severity measures significantly differentiated workers from non-workers.  Job tenure was significantly associated with speed of processing and the overall composite from the MCCB (r=.47 and r=.33, respectively) as well as WBI skill areas of Social Skills and Work Quality (r=.38 and r=.40, respectively).   There were no significant associations between MCCB domains and WBI skill areas.  Follow-up analyses revealed that the WBI skill areas of Social Skills and Work Quality were significantly associated with overall symptom severity as measured by the BPRS (r=-.41 and r=-.33, respectively).


The greater heterogeneity observed in job tenure across studies may be due neurocognitive impairments or work skill difficulties, the latter perhaps mediated by psychiatric symptom severity.


 

Robert Kern

UCLA

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