Community Mental Health Journal

, Volume 34, Issue 1, pp 71-82

First online:

Job Terminations Among Persons with Severe Mental Illness Participating in Supported Employment

  • Deborah R. Becker
  • , Robert E. Drake
  • , Gary R. Bond
  • , Haiyi Xie
  • , Bradley J. Dain
  • , Katherine Harrison

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For persons with psychiatric disabilities, maintaining a job is often more difficult than acquiring a job. A large proportion of jobs end unsatisfactorily. This study explored job terminations among 63 persons with severe mental illness who participated in competitive jobs through supported employment programs. More than half of the job terminations were unsatisfactory, defined as the client quitting without having other job plans or being fired. Baseline ratings of demographic and clinical characteristics, preemployment skills training, and early ratings of job satisfaction and work environment did not predict unsatisfactory terminations. Clients with better work histories were less likely to experience unsatisfactory terminations. In addition, unsatisfactory terminations were associated retrospectively with multiple problems on the job that were related to interpersonal functioning, mental illness, dissatisfaction with jobs, quality of work, medical illnesses, dependability, and substance abuse. These results suggest that supported employment programs need to address job maintenance with interventions that identify and address different types of difficulties as they arise on the job.