Effectiveness of vocational problem-solving skills on motivation and job-seeking action steps

Authors: Coviello, D. M., Zanis, D. A., Wesnosik, S. A., & Domis, S. W.
Year Published 2004
Publication Substance Use and Misuse
Volume 39
Number 13
Pages 2309-2324
Publisher Informa Healthcare

In a previous study, a Vocational Problem Solving Skills (VPSS) intervention was not a significant independent predictor of employment, but other factors such as length of previous work experience, age, and baseline motivation level (described in methods) were significant. In this follow up study the examiners took a look at the potential impact of the VPSS intervention on motivation and intermediary job seeking activities.


This study examined the impact of a vocational problem solving skills (VPSS) intervention to increase motivation and action step activities that lead to employment for methadone maintained treatment clients. The hypothesis were as follows: those who receive the VPSS intervention will develop greater motivation to work than those in the control condition; the VPSS group will participate in more job-seeking activities compared with the control group; motivation to work during the intervention period will predict employment at the 6-month follow-up; and job-seeking activities during the intervention will also predict 6-month employment outcomes.


The study took place at two community-based methadone treatment centers.


Sixty two subjects were randomized to the VPSS condition and 47 were randomized to the time and attention control condition. The average age of participants was 44 and the majority (61%) were black and (60%) male. Sixty-one percent had a high school diploma/GED and two-thirds reported a marketable skill or trade. The overwhelming majority or (92%) received some form of public welfare.

For those who reported receiving employment income it was reported as off the books and consisted of day work of fewer than 10 h per week. There were no significant differences between the VPSS and control conditions on any of the baseline measures.

Data Collection

Data was collected using the Addiction Severity Index (ASI) and a Vocational Motivational Assessment Checklist (VMAC). The VMAC measures the behavioral actions to obtain employment and a person's perceived motivation to obtain a job. Both were administered to get baseline and 6 months later. The VMAC was also completed on a biweekly basis over the 12-week intervention period.


Participants had random assignment to either the treatment or control group.


The study revealed that there were no differences by condition in the level of motivation to secure employment and the number of job seeking activities. Whereas, the motivation to work and number of action steps did predict gaining employment for the entire sample.


The intervention did not increase motivation and job seeking activities.

URL http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15603006
Populations Hispanic or Latino | Male & Female | Black / African American | White / Caucasian
Outcomes Employment acquisition | Return to work
Research Design Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs)
Peer Reviewed Yes