Medicine and Health Sciences
Unemployment is a substantial problem amongst veterans with mental illness. This pervasive vocational dysfunction results in poor financial, clinical, quality of life, and psychosocial outcomes. The Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Work Success (CBTw) intervention was developed through previous studies to address this issue and improve employment outcomes in this population. Design: This ongoing pilot study is using a within groups, pre-post design investigating the effects of the CBTw intervention in veterans with mental health disorders who are enrolled in VA vocational services. Setting: The study is taking place at the Roudebush Veteran Affairs Medical Center, a federal acute care facility providing comprehensive medical and rehabilitation services for veterans. Participants: Participants are veterans with a diagnosis of a mental illness who are currently enrolled in VA vocational services and have a competitive work goal in the community. To date, a total of 36 veterans have been consented to participate in the study and 26 have completed the CBTw intervention. Methods: CBTw is a manualized, group-based, 12 session program that addresses problematic thoughts, feelings, behavioral patterns, and deficits in sense of self as a worker that act as barriers to achieving work success in the community. Work and psychosocial outcomes are assessed before participation in the CBTw intervention, after the conclusion of the intervention, and again at a six month follow-up. Results: To date, findings demonstrate that 65% of unemployed participants at baseline had acquired a paid job at the 12-week follow-up. All employed participants at baseline maintained their jobs over the 12-week intervention period. In the total sample, there was also a significant pre to post increase in total hours worked in competitive jobs, t(25)= -2.4, p=.02, d=.47. Conclusion: Preliminary findings suggest that the CBTw program is an effective complement to existing VA vocational services, assisting veterans to reach their community employment goals.
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Dougherty, Emily OMSII, "Abstract" (2016). MU-COM Research Day. 38.