To address cognitive impairments that limit the effectiveness of supported employment services for patients with schizophrenia, a cognitive training program, the Thinking Skills for Work Program, was developed and integrated into supported employment services.Method
Patients with severe mental illness (N=44) and prior histories of job failures who were enrolled in supported employment programs at two sites in New York City were randomly assigned to receive either supported employment alone or supported employment with cognitive training. Measures at baseline and 3 months included a brief cognitive and symptom assessment. Work outcomes were tracked for 2–3 years.Results
Patients in the supported employment with cognitive training program demonstrated significantly greater improvements at 3 months in cognitive functioning, depression, and autistic preoccupation. Over 2–3 years, patients in the supported employment with cognitive training program were more likely to work, held more jobs, worked more weeks, worked more hours, and earned more wages than patients in the program offering supported employment alone.Conclusions
The findings support the feasibility of integrating cognitive rehabilitation into supported employment programs and suggest that more research is warranted to evaluate the effects of the Thinking Skills for Work Program.