Article Details

Research Database: Article Details

Citation:  Biegel, D.E., Stevenson, L.D., Beimers, D., Ronis, R.J., & Boyle, P. (2010). Predictors of competitive employment among consumers with co-occurring mental and substance use disorders.. Research on Social Work Practice, 20 (2), 191-201.
Title:  Predictors of competitive employment among consumers with co-occurring mental and substance use disorders.
Authors:  Biegel, D.E., Stevenson, L.D., Beimers, D., Ronis, R.J., & Boyle, P.
Year:  2010
Journal/Publication:  Research on Social Work Practice
Publisher:  SAGE
DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1177/1049731509333373
Full text:  http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1049731509333373   
Peer-reviewed?  Yes
NIDILRR-funded?  Yes

Structured abstract:

Background:  Research shows that co-occurring mental and substance use disorders can act as barriers to employment due to factors such as associated stigma, and lack of or little work history. Because of this, individuals commonly experience higher rates of unemployment.
Purpose:  First, this study explores existing literature on barriers and facilitators to competitive employment in order to better understand what kind of support these individuals require in their pursuit of obtaining and maintaining employment. It also uses a longitudinal approach, following consumers over a 12-month period. Using baseline demographic data as well as consumers' commonly identified barriers to employment, this study seeks to predict employment entry by a 6 month check in.
Study sample:  191 consumers were included in this analysis. Ages ranged 18 to 68, with mean age of 40 years old. Within this population, 60% were White, 35.6% African American, and 4.7% other origin. The sample was 61.8% male. Additionally, 60.7% of participants were beneficiaries of some form of entitlement.
Findings:  Individuals with more severe symptoms were less likely to be competitively employed. Previous employment status was predictive of competitive employment, with participants being 3.1 times more likely to be employed. Individuals who labeled themselves as "disabled" were less likely to be competitively employed.
Conclusions:  This study's findings indicate that individuals with more severe psychiatric symptoms may require additional support in their pursuit of competitive employment, due to increased difficulty. Additionally, an emphasis on strengths-based language is warranted on the counselor side, to re-frame consumers' self-perception of their disability status and ability to obtain and maintain employment. The researchers point to benefits counseling, education targeting consumer concerns about employment (i.e., fear), and the use of effective motivational techniques.

Disabilities served:  Alcohol and drug abuse
Chronic mental illness
Populations served:  Persons with multiple disabilities (e.g., deaf-blindness, HIV/AIDS, substance abuse)
SSI and SSDI recipients
Outcomes:  Employment acquisition