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Meghan E. Szczebak is a 2012 graduate of the PsyD Program in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University, Seattle

Document Type

Dissertation

Publication Date

2012

Abstract

Competitive employment is a common goal for those with severe mental illness (SMI), and evidence shows that the majority of those with SMI want to work. However, despite the desire to work competitively, those with SMI have the highest unemployment rate of any disability group (Mueser, Salyers, & Muesar, 2001). The Recovery Model is an approach to Supported Employment that has provided hope for those with mental illness, as well as challenged treatment providers to adopt a more collaborative, optimistic approach to helping clients live fulfilling, self-directed lives. To increase employment for those with SMI, effective vocational rehabilitation methods must be investigated and implemented. Only a few demographic and clinical factors correlate with future vocational outcomes, including work history, participation in an individual placement, and support vocational rehabilitation models such as Supported Employment, and self-efficacy. Despite decades of research demonstrating the advantages of Supported Employment model over traditional methods (Burns et al., 2007) the mechanisms for this success are not fully understood. In particular, any interaction between Supported Employment and self-efficacy needs to be more fully examined. This study utilized the Work-Related Self-Efficacy Scale (WSES), a psychometric tool designed specifically for the SMI population (Waghorn, Chant, & King, 2005), to investigate a possible effect of Supported Employment on self-efficacy. A treatment group of 39 participants in a Supported Employment program completed the WSES before entering the program, and after completing various stages of vocational treatment. Treatment consisted of a 10-week psycho-educational class, volunteer work and individual vocational counseling. Clients who obtained employment received 30 days of post-employment support, including benefits counseling and peer support meetings. A control group (n=19), were given the WSES at 30-day intervals. Repeated-measures of analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to analyze the data set. Results indicated that the supported employment program participants experienced an increase in work-related self-efficacy as compared to those individuals in the control group. This study adds meaningful information to the growing research on vocational self-efficacy for persons with SMI. In addition, it supports the WSES as a method of feedback to the service-delivery system and related clinical vocational programs to target and improve treatment in order to maximize scarce vocational resources and increase vocational outcomes.

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