Standardizing measures in four domains of employment outcomes for individual placement and support

Authors: Bond, G. R., Drake, R., & Becker, D.
Year Published 2012
Publication Psychiatric Services
Volume 63
Number 8
Pages 751-757
Publisher American Psychiatric Association

Virtually all studies of the individual placement and support (IPS) model of supported employment measure outcomes for job acquisition, but studies are less consistent in measuring job tenure, hours worked, and employment earnings. Lack of a common set of employment measures limits comparisons across studies and cumulative knowledge about IPS.


This study examined measures in four employment domains and their interrelationships. It examined two hypotheses. First, IPS improves both the rate of obtaining employment (job acquisition) and the amount of work (job duration, hours worked per week, and total hours and wages). Second, employment outcomes within domains are strongly correlated, whereas outcomes across domains are relatively weakly related.


All study participants were clients enrolled in public mental health programs. The four study groups were located in Manchester and Concord NH; Washington DC; Hartford CT, and Chicago


All study participants were clients enrolled in public mental health programs. They were unemployed adults who met each state's criteria for severe mental illness. Other common eligibility criteria included desire for competitive work, ability and willingness to give informed consent, and absence of significant general medical conditions precluding employment. The studies used similar protocols to track employment outcomes. Despite similar research methods, the four studies differed in geographic location and control group interventions.

Data Collection

Using a combined data set from four randomized controlled trials of IPS, this study examined mean differences between IPS participants (N=307) and participants in other vocational services (control sample) (N=374) in four domains (job acquisition, job duration, hours worked per week, and total hours and wages). Eight competitive employment measures were examined (employed at any time, total weeks worked, tenure in the longest-held job, total hours worked, average hours per week worked, total wages, days to first job, and working =20 hours per week during follow-up). Correlations between measures within both the IPS and control samples were determined.


The conditions include: 1) group skills training; initial training in choosing, getting, keeping a job; followed by job placement services from a stand alone rehabilitation program (2) enhanced rehabilitation services provided by a vocational rehabilitation counselor assigned to the project: club house and brokered supported employment (4) diversified placement services.


IPS participants had significantly better outcomes across all employment measures and domains. Correlations between measures were strong within each domain, but they were variable between domains


In addition to improving job acquisition, IPS improved job duration, hours worked per week, and total hours and wages. The correlational findings suggest proxy measures to assist meta-analysts in the synthesis of studies for which direct measures are unavailable. Initial steps toward a cross-disciplinary theoretical framework for employment outcomes are described.

Disabilities Emotional disturbance
Populations Hispanic or Latino | Black / African American | White / Caucasian | Male & Female
Outcomes Full-time employment | Increase in hours worked | Increase in tenure
NIDILRR Funded Yes
Research Design Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs)
Peer Reviewed Yes