A randomized controlled trial of the efficacy of supported employment

Authors: Hogberg, G., Pagani, M., Sundin, O., Soares, J., Aberg-Wistedt, A., Tarnell, B., & Hallstrom, T.
Year Published 2012
Publication Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica
Volume 125
Number 2
Pages 157-167
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell

Western Europe does not have enough evidence that supported employment is a more effective service than traditional vocational rehabilitation services. More research is needed to determine the efficacy of this approach in Switzerland, a country with highly evolved systems and rehabilitation programs.


This study looked at the effectiveness of using supported employment (place and train) to assist individuals with mental illness with employment versus a traditional (train and place) approach.


The setting included various places of employment.


The study sample include 100 unemployed individuals with severe mental illness. All were stabilized at the time of acceptance into the study. Forty six were assigned to the supported employment group and 54 to traditional vocational rehabilitation. Data analysis was conducted on 42 individuals in the supported employment group, where 4 were lost to follow up and 51 of the traditional vocational rehabilitation group, where 3 were lost to follow up. The two groups did not show any differences in clinical measures or demographics at intake.

Data Collection

Participants went through a two week intake assessment prior to being randomly assigned to one of the two groups. Afterwards participants were followed for a 24 month study period. Random effects logistic regression was used to assess overall differences between the two groups in month by month employment rates during this time.


The most viable locally available traditional vocational program was the control condition.


Approximately, 59% of the supported employment group went to work. At the conclusion of the study 46% remained employed. This is compared to only 26% of the group that received traditional vocational rehabilitation services. At the end of the study only 17% were still employed. The supported employment group was also employed for a longer length of time than the traditional VR group at 24.5 weeks versus ten weeks.


In Switzerland, supported employment is more effective than traditional vocational rehabilitation programs in assisting individuals with mental illness with competitive employment.

URL http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22077907
Disabilities Emotional disturbance
Populations Male & Female
Outcomes Employment acquisition | Wages | Other
Research Design Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs)
Peer Reviewed Yes