People with serious psychiatric disorders often experience "co-occurring substance use disorders" (p. 545). Therefore, they require integrated services and employment offers "a meaningful activity that supports recovery" (p. 545).
The study examined "the relationship between co-occurring disorders and enrollment in supported employment services among clients with serious mental illness" (p. 545).
The setting was Thresholds Psychiatric Rehabilitation Centers in Chicago Illinois.
The study sample included 1,748 clients who were admitted to Thresholds services between January 2008 and December 2009 (p. 545).
Data was retrieved from electronic medical records at Thresholds Psychiatric Rehabilitation Center in Chicago and analyzed for clients admitted during a 2-year period.
The intervention was supported employment for people with chronic mental illness with co-occurring substance use disorders.
The comparison condition was supported employment for people with chronic mental illness without substance use disorders.
Clients with a co-occurring substance use disorder were 52% less likely to enroll in a supported employment program. However, of those that did enter the program, the competitive employment outcomes for both groups was similar.
People with chronic mental illness and co-occurring substance use disorders are interested in competitive employment; however, they have difficulty accessing supported employment programs and are successful once they do.