Abstract: Preliminary Results of a Randomized Controlled Trial to Evaluate the Effectiveness of Virtual Reality Job Interview Training within Supported Employment (Society for Social Work and Research 24th Annual Conference - Reducing Racial and Economic Inequality)

531P Preliminary Results of a Randomized Controlled Trial to Evaluate the Effectiveness of Virtual Reality Job Interview Training within Supported Employment

Saturday, January 18, 2020
Marquis BR Salon 6 (ML 2) (Marriott Marquis Washington DC)
* noted as presenting author
Matthew Smith, PhD, MSW, LCSW, Associate Professor, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, MI
Jd Smith, Assistant Professor, Northwestern University
Neil Jordan, PhD, Associate Professor, Northwestern University
Morris Bell, PhD, Senior Career Scientist, Yale University
Kim Mueser, Professor, Boston University
Susan McGurk, Professor, Boston University
Gene Oulvey, State Coordinator of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services, State of Illinois, Division of Rehabilitation Services
Lisa Razzano, Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago, IL
Background and Purpose: Virtual reality job interview training (VR-JIT) is an efficacious internet-based intervention designed for adults with severe mental illness to improve their job interview skills through repetitive interview practice and feedback from a virtual interviewer. The aim of this study is to evaluate the community effectiveness of VR-JIT at enhancing employment readiness outcomes among individuals with severe mental illness enrolled in Individual Placement and Support (IPS) services. This presentation will focus on the preliminary results of the first 59 participants who were randomized in the study.

Methods: Individuals with severe mental illness enrolled in IPS supported employment were randomized to receive IPS with the addition of VR-JIT (IPS+VR-JIT) (n=36) or IPS only (n=23). Employment (or research) staff delivered VR-JIT via laptop computer lab located within the mental health service agency. The agency placed the computer lab at a site that was either geographically central among their satellite service provider locations (or on campus at the satellite providers). All participants completed (at pre-test and post-test) two job-interview role-plays (scores averaged together) and self-reported interviewing anxiety, interviewing self-efficacy, and interviewing motivation. Lastly, 6-month employment data were collected through self-report and validated via records review from n=40 participants (n=24 IPS+VR-JIT and n=16 IPS only).

Results: Participants randomized to receive IPS+VR-JIT (compared to IPS only) demonstrated improved interview role-play performance (Cohen’s d=0.40 vs. Cohen’s d= -0.20; p=0.002) and interviewing self-confidence (Cohen’s d=0.27 vs. Cohen’s d= -0.15; p=0.08) and interviewing motivation (Cohen’s d=0.28 vs. Cohen’s d= -0.25; p=0.07), and reduced interviewing anxiety (Cohen’s d= -0.44 vs. Cohen’s d= 0.06; p=0.05) between pre-test and post-test. Moreover, participants receiving IPS+VR-JIT had a higher employment rate by 6-month follow-up (58.3% vs. 25.0%, p=.038) and this increased likelihood of employment persisted (OR = 6.91, CI: 1.062, 44.96; p=.043) after covarying for past employment (OR = 6.75, CI: 1.127, 40.49; p=.038) and cognition (OR = 1.02, CI: 0.96, 1.09; p=.52). Lastly, we found that completing more virtual job interviews was correlated with reduced anxiety (r = -.41, p=.02) and increased motivation (r = .68, p<.001) at post-test.

Conclusions and Implications: These preliminary findings suggest that VR-JIT may demonstrate community effectiveness via enhanced employment readiness outcomes such as interviewing skill, increased efficacy, and reduced anxiety.