Three year follow-up study of an integrated supported employment for individuals with severe mental illness.

Authors: Tsang, H. W., Chan, A., Wong, A., & Liberman, R. P.
Year Published 2010
Publication Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry
Volume 44
Number 1
Pages 49-58
Publisher PubMed

Persons experiencing severe mental have traditionally experienced high rates of unemployment. The Individual Placement and Support model is an evidenced based practice effective in assisting persons with severe mental illness achieve employment outcomes at a rate higher than traditional approaches.


The aim of the present study was to examine and compare the long-term effectiveness of the Integrated Supported Employment (ISE) program, which consists of individual placement and support (IPS) and work-related social skills training, with the IPS program on the vocational and non-vocational outcomes among individuals with severe mental illness (SMI) over a period of 3 years.


Non government organizations and day hospitals in Hong Kong in association with the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong.


One hundred and eighty-nine participants with SMI were recruited from two non-government organizations and three day hospitals in Hong Kong.

Data Collection

Study participants were randomly assigned into the ISE (n = 58), IPS (n = 65) and traditional vocational rehabilitation (TVR) (n = 66) groups. Vocational and non-vocational outcomes of the ISE and IPS participants were collected by a blind and independent assessor at 7 11, 15, 21, 27, 33 and 39 months after their admission, whereas the TVR groups were assessed only up to the 15th month follow up.


The comparison condition was traditional vocational rehabilitation.


After 39 months of service provision, ISE participants obtained higher employment rate (82.8% vs 61.5%) and longer job tenure (46.94 weeks vs 36.17 weeks) than the IPS participants. Only 6.1% of TVR participants were able to obtain employment before the 15th month follow up. Fewer interpersonal conflicts at the workplace were reported for the ISE participants. Advantages of the ISE participants over IPS participants on non-vocational outcomes were not conclusive.


The long-term effectiveness of the ISE program in enhancing employment rates and job tenures among individuals with SMI was demonstrated by this randomized controlled trial.

Disabilities Emotional disturbance
Populations Asian
Outcomes Employment acquisition | Increase in tenure
Research Design Single group, Quasi-experimental
Peer Reviewed Yes