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A Protocol for Virtual Interviewing Research in Mental Health Services

Individual Placement and Support (IPS) is the evidence-based model of supported employment that increases employment rates in adults with severe mental illness (SMI). Although IPS is largely successful, over 80% of adults with SMI remain unemployed. An enhancement to high fidelity IPS could be an evidence-based job interview training component. To meet this training need, our group recently completed a series of randomized controlled efficacy trials funded by the National Institute of Mental Health to develop and test virtual reality job interview training (VR-JIT) in a lab setting. The results demonstrated that the intervention was efficacious at helping trainees improve their job interview skills and receive job offers within six months of completing VR-JIT compared to non-trainees.


The overarching goal of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of VR-JIT as an enhancement to IPS when delivered in a large community-based mental health service provider via a randomized controlled trial and initial process evaluation. Our aims are to: evaluate whether IPS services-as-usual in combination with VR-JIT, compared to IPS services-as-usual alone, enhances IPS outcomes for adults with SMI; evaluate mechanisms of employment outcomes and psychological distress; and conduct a multilevel, multidisciplinary, and mixed-method process evaluation of VR-JIT adoption and implementation to assess the acceptability, scalability, generalizability, and affordability of VR-JIT.