A randomized controlled trial of a supported employment program for persons with long-term mental illness in Hong Kong

Authors: Wong, K. K., Chiu, S. N., Chiu, L. P., & Tang, S. W.
Year Published 2008
Publication Psychiatric Services
Volume 59
Number 1
Pages 84-90
Publisher American Psychiatric Association

Supported employment is an evidence-based practice that has proved to be consistently more effective than conventional vocational rehabilitation in helping people with severe mental illness find and sustain competitive employment. Most research on the effectiveness of supported employment comes from the United States.


This study examined the effectiveness and applicability of a supported employment program based on the individual placement and support model in a Hong Kong setting.


The setting was community rehabilitation programs in Hong Kong.


Ninety-two unemployed individuals with long-term mental illness who desired competitive employment were randomly assigned to either a supported employment program or a conventional vocational rehabilitation program.

Data Collection

Both vocational and non-vocational outcomes were measured in this study. Vocational outcomes include competitive employment rates, time to first job, total days employed, and total earnings. Non-vocational outcomes include self-perceived quality of life. Major assessments were conducted at baseline and at six and 18 month follow up points by the employment specialist.


Traditional Vocational Rehabilitation Services


Over an 18 month study period, compared with participants in the conventional vocational rehabilitation program, those in the supported employment group were more likely to work competitively, held a greater number of competitive jobs, earned more income, worked more days and sustained longer job tenures.


Consistent with previous research findings, the supported employment program was more effective than the conventional vocational rehabilitation program in helping individuals with long-term mental illness find and sustain competitive employment in a Hong Kong setting.

URL http://ps.psychiatryonline.org/doi/abs/10.1176/ps.2008.59.1.84
Disabilities Emotional disturbance
Populations Asian | Male & Female
Outcomes Employment acquisition | Full-time employment | Increase in tenure | Part-time employment | Wages
Research Design Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs)
Peer Reviewed Yes