Decision aid on disclosure of mental health status to an employer: feasibility and outcomes of a randomised controlled trial

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Abstract

Background

Many mental health service users delay or avoid disclosing their condition to employers because of experience, or anticipation, of discrimination. However, non-disclosure precludes the ability to request ‘reasonable adjustments’. There have been no intervention studies to support decision-making about disclosure to an employer.

Aims

To determine whether the decision aid has an effect that is sustained beyond its immediate impact; to determine whether a large-scale trial is feasible; and to optimise the designs of a larger trial and of the decision aid.

Method

In this exploratory randomised controlled trial (RCT) in London, participants were randomly assigned to use of a decision aid plus usual care or usual care alone. Follow-up was at 3 months. Primary outcomes were: (a) stage of decision-making; (b) decisional conflict; and (c) employment-related outcomes (trial registration number: NCT01379014).

Results

We recruited 80 participants and interventions were completed for 36 out of 40 in the intervention group; in total 71 participants were followed up. Intention-to-treat analysis showed that reduction in decisional conflict was significantly greater in the intervention group than among controls (mean improvement −22.7 (s.d. = 15.2) v. −11.2 (s.d. = 18.1), P = 0.005). More of the intervention group than controls were in full-time employment at follow-up (P = 0.03).

Conclusions

The observed reduction in decisional conflict regarding disclosure has a number of potential benefits which next need to be tested in a definitive trial.

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