An RCT of Virtual Reality Job Interview Training for Individuals With Serious Mental Illness in IPS Supported Employment

Matthew J. Smith*, Justin D. Smith, Shannon Blajeski, Brittany Ross, Neil Jordan, Morris D. Bell, Susan R. McGurk, Kim T. Mueser, Jane K. Burke-Miller, Eugene A. Oulvey, Michael F. Fleming, Karley Nelson, Adrienne Brown, John Prestipino, Nicole J. Pashka, Lisa A. Razzano

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Objective: Virtual Reality Job Interview Training (VR-JIT) is a computerized interview simulator with efficacy at enhancing interview skills and employment outcomes. A randomized controlled trial assessed VR-JIT effectiveness for participants in individual placement and support (IPS), in which approximately 55% of individuals with serious mental illness obtain employment. Methods: Ninety participants with serious mental illness were randomly assigned to IPS1VR-JIT (N554) or IPS as usual (N536), completing pretest-posttest assessments and an employment evaluation at 9 months. Intent-to-treat chi-square analysis, multivariable logistic regression, Cox proportional hazards models, and mixed-effects linear regressions were conducted. Fifty-one percent were IPS nonresponders (i.e., no employment within the first 90 days of IPS). Results: IPS1VR-JIT participants did not have significantly higher employment rates, compared with IPS-as-usual participants (43% versus 28%). IPS nonresponders (N546) in the IPS1VR-JIT group had greater odds of obtaining employment (odds ratio [OR]55.82, p50.014) and shorter time to employment (hazard ratio52.70, p50.044) compared with IPS nonresponders in the IPS-as-usual group. Intent-to-treat mixed-effects linear analyses indicated that IPS1VR-JIT, compared with IPS as usual, significantly improved interview skills (p50.006), interview confidence (p50.013), and interview anxiety (p50.019). Conclusions: VR-JIT’s potential benefits (increased employment in a shorter time) appeared to be specific to IPS nonresponders, whereas employment outcomes for recent IPS enrollees were not affected. VR-JIT could be a valuable resource for employment specialists to support IPS nonresponders, because 47% of participants engaged in mock interview training with their specialist. Future research should focus on evaluating the effectiveness and implementation of VR-JIT among IPS nonresponders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1027-1038
Number of pages12
JournalPsychiatric Services
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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