Objective: To assess the longitudinal effectiveness of a comprehensive vocational rehabilitation program in Germany.
Methods: In a non-randomized open study, 106 participants of two comprehensive rehabilitation programs were prospectively and multidimensionally compared to a control group (n = 75) at program termination and at a 9 months follow-up. Primary outcome was employment status at 9 months follow-up, secondary outcome parameters were changes in symptoms (Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale), subjective well-being (WHOQOL-Bref), and level of functioning (Level of Functioning Scale) during the study.
Results: Regarding the primary outcome measure, there was significant more day structuring employment (mainly sheltered) in the rehabilitation group than in the comparison group (39.7 vs. 18.7%) at 9 months follow-up. Regarding secondary outcomes, rehabilitation participants showed a better course in general symptoms, subjective well-being and level of functioning.
Conclusion: Vocational services proved to be effective to find day structuring employment for subjects with severe mental illness. Furthermore it had positive effects on functioning and psychological well-being during a 9-months follow-up period.