The topic of employment among persons with mental illness has become increasingly salient in the research literature, as practitioners identify both the benefits of employment to quality of life and the difficulties faced by persons with mental illness in obtaining and maintaining competitive positions (Bond, Drake, & Becker, 2008). These difficulties include the impact of symptoms on work task completion, difficulty coping with work stress, and the impact of interpersonal stressors (Becker et al., 1998).
The purpose of this pilot study was to examine the effectiveness of a brief cognitive behavioral therapy group intervention that targets vocational stressors for individuals whose vocational functioning had been significantly impacted by mental illness.
The setting was a community counseling center.
The study sample included 16 individuals with mood and anxiety disorder diagnoses.
Wilcoxon's signed rank test was used to test change as a result of the intervention.
The intervention was brief cognitive behavioral therapy.
There was no control or comparison condition.
It was found that employed persons reported an improved sense of mastery in the completion of work tasks, improved satisfaction with work supervision, and decreased satisfaction with advancement and job security. Unemployed participants reported improved expectancy for employment success.
Promising areas for future investigation include (a) examination of the outcomes of separate CBT interventions specifically tailored for employed and unemployed individuals; (b) examination of the impact of CBT interventions when paired with an evidence based vocational intervention (e.g., supported employment), as has been suggested by others (e.g., Bond, 2004); and (c) examination of longer versions of this form of intervention (e.g., 8‚Äì10 sessions) to help to determine whether this would improve assimilation of materials/techniques and provide more opportunities to practice skills.