Back to top

Employment Outcomes for Individuals with Substance Use Disorders


Individuals with substance use disorders (SUDs) have low employment rates and job interviewing is a critical barrier to employment for them. Virtual reality training is efficacious at improving interview skills and vocational outcomes for several clinical populations.



This study evaluated the acceptability and efficacy of virtual reality job interview training (VR-JIT) at improving interview skills and vocational outcomes among individuals with SUDs via a small randomized controlled trial (n = 14 VR-JIT trainees, n = 11 treatment-as-usual (TAU) controls).



Trainees completed up to 10 hours of virtual interviews, while controls received services as usual. Primary outcome measures included two pre-test and two post-test video-recorded role-play interviews and vocational outcomes at six-month follow-up.



Trainees reported that the intervention was easy-to-use and helped prepared them for future interviews. While co-varying for pre-test role-play performance, trainees had higher post-test role-play scores than controls at the trend level (p < 0.10). At 6-month follow-up, trainees were more likely than controls to attain a competitive position (78.6% vs. 44.4%, p < 0.05, respectively). Trainees had greater odds of attaining a competitive position by 6 month follow-up compared to controls (OR: 5.67, p < 0.05). VR-JIT participation was associated with fewer weeks searching for a position (r = –0.36, p < 0.05).



There is preliminary evidence that VR-JIT is acceptable to trainees with SUDs. Moreover, VR-JIT led to better vocational outcomes with trainees having greater odds of attaining a competitive position by 6-month follow-up. Future studies could evaluate the effectiveness of VR-JIT within community-based services.