Supported Employment: Motivational Enhancement for Entry and Outcome

VA Office of Research and Development logo

VA Office of Research and Development

Status and phase

Phase 2


Psychotic Disorders
Bipolar Disorder


Behavioral: Adapted Motivational Interviewing (AMI)
Behavioral: Support and Education for Recovery (SER)

Study type


Funder types

Other U.S. Federal agency



Details and patient eligibility


The purpose of this study is to compare 6 monthly counseling sessions to 6 monthly information sessions on Veterans' decisions to (a) participate in vocational rehabilitation services and (b) become employed.

Full description

Approximately 85-90% of those with serious mental illness are unemployed (9, 10). This level of unemployment exists despite the finding that, among people who have a psychiatric disability and are unemployed, 55-61% desire employment, with the total reaching 75% when concern about losing benefits was taken into account (1, 2). The rewards of employment for adults with SMI are greater than simply an increase in financial resources. Studies have found that people with serious mental illness who worked competitively scored higher on measures of self-esteem, satisfaction with finances, leisure, and overall life satisfaction compared to those worked little or not at all (11). Supported employment (SE) has been more effective than any other vocational rehabilitation approach for this population (3, 4) and the VA has mandated that SE be integrated into all current VHA Compensated Work Therapy (CWT) programs (VHA Directive 2007-005). Two areas of concern include (a) national utilization of SE services is low (13), and (b) the percentage of SE participants who obtain at least one job during the studies averages 56% even though everyone who enters the program expressed an interest in working (13). Motivational interviewing (MI) is an evidence-based practice that has been effective in enhancing a range of clinical services (6), but has just recently been applied to employment and vocational services by Drebing et al. (7) and Glynn et al (8). The proposed project is a randomized trial of Adapted Motivational Interviewing for Supported Employment (AMI-SE) provided to Veterans and their significant others (family members or key friends) in order to address the internal and external barriers to the Veteran enrolling in supported employment and returning to work.


168 patients




18+ years old


No Healthy Volunteers

Inclusion criteria

  • Eligible to receive VA services
  • Diagnosis of serious mental illness: schizophrenia, schizoaffective, psychosis NOS, bipolar disorder, or depression with psychotic features
  • Currently unemployed
  • Not currently enrolled in Supported Employment services
  • Expects to stay within 100 miles of Bedford, MA for the next 18 months
  • Has a significant other (friend or family member) who is also willing to participate (a criterion required only from March 2011 to March 2012 of the recruitment period)

Exclusion criteria

  • Currently in prison
  • Not able to provide informed consent
  • Not able to speak and understand English

Trial design

168 participants in 2 patient groups, including a placebo group

Adapted Motivational Interviewing (AMI)
Experimental group
Veterans assigned to the AMI condition will be scheduled for up to 6 sessions over 6 months. Up to 3 of these 6 sessions will be joint sessions with the Veteran's significant other (if available). Sessions will utilize a variety of motivational enhancement strategies including evocative questions, importance and confidence scales, collaborative problem solving, and planning.
Behavioral: Adapted Motivational Interviewing (AMI)
Support and Education for Recovery (SER)
Placebo Comparator group
Veterans assigned to the control condition will be seen for 6 sessions over 6 months of basic support and education about VA and non-VA psychiatric rehabilitation and recovery services. Up to 3 of these 6 sessions will be joint sessions with the Veteran's significant other (if available). The session topics include information about Bedford VA and Boston VA recovery services, as well as those offered by local non-profits.
Behavioral: Support and Education for Recovery (SER)

Trial contacts and locations



Data sourced from

Clinical trials

Find clinical trialsTrials by location


© Copyright 2024 Veeva Systems