Long-term employment trajectories among participants with severe mental illness in supported employment

Authors: Bejarano, V., Quinn, M., Conaghan, P. G., Reece, R., Keenan, A.-M., Walker, D., Gough, A., Green, M., McGonagle, D., Adebajo, A., Jarrett, S., Doherty, S., Hordon, L., Melsom, R., Unnebrink, K., Kupper, H., & Emery, P.
Year Published 2007
Publication Psychiatric Services
Volume 58
Number 7
Pages 922-928
Publisher American Psychiatric Association

The article describes the evidence in support of supported employment for people with psychiatric disabilities. However, most of the studies are limited to a maximum of a 2-year follow-up period.


The purpose of the study was to evaluate individual work trajectories and generic work patterns over an eight- to 12-year period through a quantitative analysis. Perceived influences by participants of their work-related behaviors were also examined through a qualitative analysis.


A community mental health center in New England was the setting for two studies. One began in 1990. The second began in 1995.


The sample included 38 with severe mental illness eight to 12 years after they enrolled in supported employment studies.

Data Collection

Participants in the two original studies who received IPS services were invited to participate in one follow-up interview in 2004.

A modified version of a semi-structured interview developed of a previous study was used. Participants were asked about of all their work activities, including competitive employment, sheltered work, and volunteer work. The pattern of work was coded by the percentage of months worked, excluding recent work history.

Most questions were closed; however, several open-ended questions were included. The analysis was developed using the grounded theory approach developed by Glaser and Strauss.


There was a matched sample of participants who did not receive supported employment services.


During the follow up period, all participants had worked at least one job. Most jobs were competitive, and most participants worked at competitive jobs. Most people worked less than 20 hours per week for any job they held during the follow up period.

Twenty-seven participants had worked more than half of the follow-up period. 71% of the 38 participants were working at the time of the re-interview. The majority of the jobs were in clerical, service, or sales categories.

The majority of participants received some type of benefits at long-term follow-up.


The long-term trajectories of participants in supported employment programs, both vocational and non-vocational, appear to be positive.

URL http://www.worksupport.com/kter/documents/pdf/LongtermEmploymentTrajectories.pdf
Disabilities Emotional disturbance
Populations Hispanic or Latino | Black / African American | White / Caucasian | Male & Female
Outcomes Full-time employment | Increase in tenure | Part-time employment
Research Design Mixed methods
Peer Reviewed Yes