An RCT Evaluating the Effects of Skills Training and Medication Type on Work Outcomes Among Patients With Schizophrenia

Psychiatr Serv. 2017 Mar 1;68(3):271-277. doi: 10.1176/ Epub 2016 Nov 1.


Objective: Although supported employment increases job acquisition for people with serious mental illness, data on participants' job tenure have been variable. This study evaluated the effects of a standardized work skills training program (the Workplace Fundamentals Module [WPFM]) on job tenure and other work outcomes among individuals receiving individual placement and support (IPS). The effects of two atypical antipsychotic medications on side effects were also tested. The primary hypothesis tested was that participants in IPS plus WPFM would have increased job tenure compared with those enrolled in IPS only, and the secondary hypothesis was that different antipsychotic medications would yield unique side effects.

Methods: A 2×2 randomized controlled trial compared work outcomes, including job tenure, of participants receiving IPS with or without WPFM for up to two years after obtaining a job. Participants were also randomly assigned to olanzapine or risperidone. Measures of work outcomes, clinical status, and medication side effects were collected.

Results: Among 107 participants, 63% obtained at least one job. WPFM did not increase job tenure (51.53 and 41.37 total weeks worked for IPS only and IPS plus WPFM, respectively) or affect other work outcomes. Participants on olanzapine experienced increased body mass index, whereas those on risperidone lost weight, but medications did not differentially affect clinical or job outcomes.

Conclusions: Clinic-based skills training did not improve work outcomes accruing from IPS. Risperidone, compared with olanzapine, may reduce body mass but has no differential effect on other work or clinical outcomes.

Keywords: Schizophrenia, Drugs & psychotherapy, Outcome studies, Work-related disabilities.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antipsychotic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antipsychotic Agents / adverse effects
  • Antipsychotic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Behavior Therapy / methods*
  • Benzodiazepines / administration & dosage
  • Benzodiazepines / adverse effects
  • Benzodiazepines / pharmacology*
  • Employment, Supported / methods*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Olanzapine
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care*
  • Professional Competence*
  • Risperidone / administration & dosage
  • Risperidone / adverse effects
  • Risperidone / pharmacology*
  • Schizophrenia / drug therapy*
  • Schizophrenia / rehabilitation*


  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Risperidone
  • Olanzapine