Supported employment, job preferences, job tenure and satisfaction

Authors: Mueser, K. T., Campbell, K., & Drake, R. E.
Year Published 2001
Publication Journal of Mental Health
Volume 10
Number 4
Pages 411-417
Publisher Informa Health Care

Brief job tenure is problematic because it often reflects client dissatisfaction with work, and it prevents advancement and the potential to earn higher wages. Relatively few client or situational factors have been consistently correlated with job tenure, with the exception of work experience. However, the role of client job preferences has been examined in only a few studies.


The relationships between job preferences, job satisfaction and job tenure were examined in a sample of 204 unemployed clients with severe mental illness randomly assigned to one of three vocational rehabilitation programs and followed for 2 years.


The study was conducted at the Capitol Region Mental Health Center (CRMHC) in Hartford, Connecticut. All clients were receiving standard care for severe mental illness, including medication, case management, housing assistance, and access to psychiatric rehabilitation programs.


The study participants were 204 clients with severe mental illness. Criteria for participation included: (1) not currently employed in competitive work ( by US Department of Labor); (2) interest in competitive employment; (3) attendance at two research introduction groups designed to inform clients about the study.

Data Collection

Throughout the 2 years of the study information on work, including the type of job, wages, and hours worked, was obtained weekly through brief interviews with clients and vocational staff. In addition, job satisfaction was rated using the Indiana Job Satisfaction Scale 2 weeks after beginning a new job and bi-monthly thereafter as long as clients remain on the job.


The condition was a psychiatric rehabilitation program (PSR) and standard services (Standard).


For clients in the IPS program, those who obtained jobs that matched their pre-employment preferences for type of work desired reported higher levels of job satisfaction and had longer job tenures than clients who obtained jobs that did not match their preferences. For clients in the PSR or Standard programs, job preferences were not related to job tenure or satisfaction.


The findings replicate previous research in this area, and suggest that helping clients obtain work that matches their job preferences is an important ingredient of success in supported employment program.

Disabilities Emotional disturbance
Populations Male & Female | Black / African American | White / Caucasian
Outcomes Increase in tenure
NIDILRR Funded Yes
Research Design Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs)
Peer Reviewed Yes