Effects of local unemployment rate on vocational outcomes in a randomized trial of supported employment for individuals with psychiatric disabilities

Judith A. Cook, Virginia Mulkern, Dennis D. Grey, Jane Burke-Miller, Crystal R. Blyler, Lisa A. Razzano, Steven J. Onken, Richard M. Balser, Paul B. Gold, Michael Shafer, Caroline L. Kaufmann, Kate Donegan, Clifton M. Chow, Pamela A. Steigman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to explore the effects of local unemployment rates on evidence-based supported employment (SE) programs tailored for people with psychiatric disabilities. Participants (n = 1,273) from 7 states in the US were randomly assigned to experimental SE or services as usual/comparison conditions and followed for 24 months. Mixed-effects random regression analysis found that both local unemployment rate and study condition were significant predictors of competitive employment and working 40 or more hours per month. An interaction between study condition and unemployment rate was found, in which participants in areas with low unemployment receiving best practice SE had consistently better outcomes than all others. However, even in areas with high unemployment, those who received evidence-based SE had outcomes superior to those in the control condition. This confirms the influence of local labor market forces on individuals with psychiatric disabilities participating in vocational rehabilitation programs. It also suggests that those who are attempting to return to work in areas with weak local economies are likely to fare especially poorly if they are not receiving high quality SE interventions. Thus, use of evidence-based SE can help to ameliorate the effects of high unemployment on work outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-84
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Vocational Rehabilitation
Volume25
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1 2006

Keywords

  • Mental illness
  • Psychiatric disability
  • Supported employment
  • Unemployment rate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Occupational Therapy

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