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Employment Outcomes for Individuals with Schizophrenia

Background

Individuals with schizophrenia have low employment rates and the job interview presents a critical barrier for them to obtain employment. Virtual reality training has demonstrated efficacy at improving interview skills and employment outcomes among multiple clinical populations. However, the effects of this training on individuals with schizophrenia are unknown. This study evaluated the efficacy of virtual reality job interview training (VR-JIT) at improving job interview skills and employment outcomes among individuals with schizophrenia in a small randomized controlled trial (n = 21 VR-JIT trainees, n = 11 waitlist controls).

 

Method

Trainees completed up to 10 h of virtual interviews using VR-JIT, while controls received services as usual. Primary outcome measures included two pre-test and two post-test video-recorded role-play interviews scored by blinded raters with expertise in human resources and self-reported interviewing self- confidence. Six-month follow-up data on employment outcomes were collected.

 

Results

Trainees reported that the intervention was easy-to-use, helpful, and prepared them for future interviews. Trainees demonstrated increased role-play scores between pre-test and post-test while controls did not (p = 0.001). After accounting for neurocognition and months since prior employment, trainees had greater odds of receiving a job offer by 6 month follow-up compared to controls (OR: 8.73, p = 0.04) and more training was associated with fewer weeks until receiving a job offer (r = −0.63, p b 0.001).

 

Conclusions

Results suggest that VR-JIT is acceptable to trainees and may be efficacious for improving job interview skills in individuals with schizophrenia. Moreover, trainees had greater odds of receiving a job offer by 6-month follow-up. Future studies could evaluate the effectiveness of VR-JIT within community-based services.


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