Self -help in vocational rehabilitation: Impact of a job search workbook on employment, job search behavior, skill, and self-efficacy

Lisa Noelle Mueller, Fordham University


The primary purpose of this study was to investigate whether a job search workbook alone is equivalent to a job search workbook with individual assistance in promoting employment for participants with psychiatric and/or substance use disorders in a vocational rehabilitation program. The study also assessed whether the two interventions differed in the effect on job search skills, job search self-efficacy, employment commitment, and job search behaviors in the context of goal setting theory. Some programs that teach job search skills have been successful in promoting employment for people in vocational rehabilitation and in other settings. Although programs often use workbooks to teach job search skills in individual or group sessions, these workbooks are also given to clients as a stand-alone treatment for obtaining employment, but no evidence exists as to their effectiveness. Research in the area of bibliotherapy suggests that for clinical problems such as depression, anxiety, and sobriety maintenance, a workbook alone can yield outcomes similar to using a workbook with a clinician, but for other problems such as smoking, studies have found no effect for minimal or no contact interventions. In this study, participants from a vocational rehabilitation program who were interested in employment were randomly assigned to job search workbook alone or job search workbook with 8 hours individual assistance. The participants were assessed before and after the 2 month intervention, and at the 4 month follow-up. The data were analyzed using repeated measures MANOVA, ANOVA, and discriminant analysis. Results indicated that number of completed workbook activities was positively associated with job search skill and number of days in competitive employment, but there was no effect of group assignment (workbook-only versus workbook-plus-sessions), or number of individual sessions on any of the dependent variables. Employment commitment was positively related to job search behavior, skill, and self-efficacy. Future research recommendations include varying the intervention by using a group and/or peer facilitator instead of individual sessions with a staff facilitator in order to amplify the effects on job search self-efficacy, behavior, skill, and competitive employment.

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Recommended Citation

Mueller, Lisa Noelle, "Self -help in vocational rehabilitation: Impact of a job search workbook on employment, job search behavior, skill, and self-efficacy" (2007). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3262828.