Individuals with mental illness have problems finding work on their own. To help promote employment for these individuals the federal government fund supported employment services. Research shows that supported employment services have been able to increase work outcomes for this population. Sometimes services may be reimbursed based on the attainment of outcomes rather than hours need to deliver services. Therefore, identifying factors that impact success of supported employment programs may prove beneficial.
The purpose of this study is to identify correlates of effectiveness and efficiency in supported employment. They hypotheses were are individuals with more severe impairments less successful at obtaining employment and if they go to work are more hours of services required as compared to individuals who are less impaired.
The setting included a number of different employment sites in a midwestern state where individuals with psychiatric disabilities worked.
The statewide sample included 1,861 individuals with mental illness who were enrolled in a supported employment program between 1993 and 1997. The majority were males (507). Most had a primary diagnosis of schizophrenia (437). The minority were non white (114). Among this sample 210 had incomplete employment data. The final analysis was based on information from 1,861 participants.
The study used program evaluation data from 21 agencies that provided supported employment services to individuals with mental illness using the Indiana supported employment model which was based on the Individual Placement and Support Model. Different samples were used for different analyses. An intake form provided information on demographics. The Global Assessment of Functioning scale provided information about a person's current skills. Other information was obtained from monthly records about staff services that an agency had to keep for reimbursement. Because the study related to obtaining work, only services related to this were measured. The study did not look at services that were provided after placement. Notably part of the specific services included an evaluation of a person's employment potential...which is NOT in alignment with best practices in supported employment services. Related to predicting work outcomes and services hours the first discriminant function looked at persons who worked and those who did not as the criterion categories. The second discriminant function looked at a different set of variables measured at intake. For individuals who worked, multiple regression analysis were conducted using the same individual characteristics to predict the total hours of SE services required prior to becoming employed. Related to supported employment services a discriminant function analysis was used to determine the characteristics of services associated with obtaining work.
The intervention was the measurement of the quality and quantity of supported employment services.
There was no control or comparison condition.
None of the clinical or demographic variable were significant predictors of work outcome or the amount of supported employment services required. Travel was the category most associated with future work. This included travel to a job site, to a person's home or transporting the individual anywhere. Advocacy unrelated to work and training related to days ot day activities (ie. money handling, grooming, transportation or management of symptoms) also had importance.
Supported employment agencies should provide individualized, person centered services to individuals with mental illness. More high quality research about supported employment is needed.