Working it out: Development and testing of a multimedia, vocational education program

Authors: Campbell, K., Bond, G., & Drake, R.
Year Published 2004
Publication Substance Use and Misuse
Volume 39
Number 13
Pages 2525-2558
Publisher Marcel Dekker Inc.

Employment is a ongoing problem for individuals with substance dependency. Their vocational needs are unmet. Earlier studies have shown a positive correlation between employment and retention in treatment. Despite evidence about the value of addressing employment issues in treatment, the service delivery system does not address these needs. Welfare reform has increased expectations for substance abuse beneficiaries to gain employment. Due to shorter stays and funding cuts more programs primarily focus on substance use. Employment and work problems are not given priority. A multimedia interactive computer program may offer a cost effective way to address employment problems.


The study hypothesis was that an interactive and tailored multimedia presentation of vocational rehabilitation information would be more effective than a general printed package of information and work book in reducing the severity of employment problems.


The study took place in residential and outpatient services for substance misuse from six treatment facilities in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, and New Mexico.


One-hundred and ninety-four (194) individuals who received residential and outpatient services for substance misuse from six treatment facilities in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, and New Mexico participated in the study. The average age of participants was 37 years and the majority or 64% were men. About 43% were from a minority group.

Data Collection

The measures included the Addiction severity index-multimedia version (ASI-MV), Social adjustment scale-self report (SAS-SR), Employment questionnaire, Treatment services review and Satisfaction questionnaire. Around 75% of the sample completed 3 or more CD-ROM sessions. These participants completed a satisfaction questionnaire after each session and at the end entire course. Follow up assessment was scheduled 6 month from baseline. Subjects completed SAS-SR and Employment Questionnaire. They were also contacted by telephone to complete a follow up to the ASI.


There was a comparison between the group that received the intervention and the control group members. The control group members used the Looking for Work Printed Package booklet along with a workbook with information on: facing fears, why work?, coping with job-related stress, job-finding skills (writing a resume, networking, interviewing, etc.), caring for oneself and the job, and what to say about ones recovery.


The study demonstrated that a multimedia vocational rehabilitation program that is self-administered, interactive, and tailored to clients employment status and motivation can be used in a substance dependency treatment program. The study did not find significant differences over the use of printed versus multimedia material. However, clients reported enjoying using the computer program and found the experience more relevant to their particular concerns.


The multimedia Working It Out program can be effectively used by clients who are in substance dependency treatment.

Populations Hispanic or Latino | Male & Female | American Indian or Alaska Native | Asian | Black / African American | Native Hawaiian / other Pacific Islander | White / Caucasian
Outcomes Employment acquisition | Return to work
Research Design Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs)
Peer Reviewed Yes