Returning citizens struggled to obtain employment after release from prison and navigating job interviews is a critical barrier to obtaining employment. Implementing evidence-based interview training is a major gap in prison-based vocational services. We conducted a randomized controlled trial to evaluate the feasibility and initial effectiveness of Virtual Reality Job Interview Training within two prisons.
Forty-four male returning citizens were randomized to receive service-as-usual (SAU) with VR-JIT (SAU+VR-JIT, n=28) or SAU (n=16).
Participants reported VR-JIT was highly acceptable and usable. The SAU+VR-JIT group, as compared to SAU, had significant improvements (with large effect sizes) in interview skills, interview training motivation, and interview anxiety (all p<0.05); and greater employment by six-month follow-up (OR = 7.4, p<0.045).
VR-JIT can potentially help fill a major gap in prison-based vocational services. Future research is needed to validate VR-JIT effectiveness in a fully powered trial and evaluate VR-JIT implementation within prisons.
March 16, 2022