Virtual Reality Job Interview Training to Enhance Supported Employment for Adults with SMI

Project: Research project

Project Details


Supported Employment (SE) is an evidenced based method that has been shown to increase employment rates in adults with severe mental illness (SMI). Despite the success of this program, more than 80% of adults with SMI remain unemployed. A limitation of SE is the job interview component, which utilizes staff-led roleplay training. Many adults with SMI who participate in SE report feeling inadequately prepared for the job interview process. To fill this training need, our group recently completed a series of studies funded by NIMH to develop and test the efficacy of a virtual reality job interview training program (VR). The results demonstrated that the intervention was efficacious at improving job interview skills and receiving a job offer within 6 months of completing the training simulation. Thus, the overarching goal of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of a virtual reality job interview skills training program (VR) in a large community-based mental health service provider via a randomized controlled trial and process evaluation. Thus, our aims are to 1) Evaluate whether SE+VR compared to SE Only enhances SE outcomes; 2) Evaluate mechanisms of employment outcomes and psychological distress; and 3) Conduct a multilevel, multidisciplinary, and mixed method process evaluation of VR adoption and implementation to assess the acceptability, scalability, generalizability, and affordability of VR. Northwestern’s role in this project will include the following: coordinating all intervention-related activities with Thresholds, the community-based mental health organization involved in the project; monitoring recruitment; administering pretest and posttest measures with study members; conducting focus groups; collecting and entering data for the RCT, cost-capture, and implementation analyses; and monitoring NU IRB.
Effective start/end date5/1/177/31/21


  • University of Michigan (3004704106//R01MH110524 AMD No. 2)
  • National Institute of Mental Health (3004704106//R01MH110524 AMD No. 2)


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