A ten-year follow-up of a supported employment program

Psychiatr Serv. 2004 Mar;55(3):302-8. doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.55.3.302.


Objective: Supported employment has steadily increased in prominence as an evidence-based mental health practice, and research shows that the service significantly improves employment outcomes over one to two years. The objective of this study was to examine the outcomes of supported employment ten years after an initial demonstration project.

Methods: The study group consisted of 36 clients who had participated in a supported employment program at one of two mental health centers in 1990 or 1992. Clients were interviewed ten years after program completion about their employment history, facilitators to their employment, and their perceptions of how working affected areas of their lives.

Results: Seventy-five percent of the participants worked beyond the initial study period, with 33 percent who worked at least five years during the ten-year period. Current and recent jobs tended to be competitive and long term; the average job tenure was 32 months. However, few clients made the transition to full-time employment with health benefits. Clients reported that employment led to substantial benefits in diverse areas, such as improvements in self-esteem, hope, relationships, and control of substance abuse.

Conclusions: On the basis of this small sample, supported employment seems to be more effective over the long term, with benefits lasting beyond the first one to two years.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Employment, Supported*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Mental Health Services
  • Mentally Ill Persons*
  • Middle Aged
  • New Hampshire
  • Program Evaluation
  • Rehabilitation Centers