Theses and Dissertations - UTB/UTPA

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Rehabilitation Counseling

First Advisor

Dr. Eva Miller

Second Advisor

Dr. Bruce Reed

Third Advisor

Dr. Ralph Carlson


Employment is a primary facet of our social milieu and can be associated with an individual's health and quality of life. Employment has also proven to be an essential element to the recovery of people with severe mental illness (PWSMI); however, PWSMI have the highest unemployment rate out of all groups of individuals with disabilities. Supported employment (SE) is an ideal mainstreaming agent, for PWSMI, into competitive employment; yet, barriers experienced by participants of SE interrupt the overall effectiveness of the program. This study provides insight regarding an intervention designed to assist PWSMI in overcoming employment-related barriers. A pre-test post-test experimental design was employed for one week at an acute care hospital located in North Mississippi. This experimental study was conducted to investigate the effects of a 10-session prevocational seminar on self-efficacy and work motivation among adults with severe mental illness (SMI) (n=21) residing in an inpatient psychiatric facility. The prevocational seminar (independent variable) utilized a revised version of the Work Related Social Skills Training. Dependent variables consisted of the General Self-Efficacy Scale and Work Motivation Scales (two sub-scales Work Values and Work Motives). Three one-way ANCOVAs were applied to analyze post-test results for the dependent measures. The statistical results yielded no differences among adjusted post-test means for treatment groups for each research hypothesis. However, interesting trends correlating with existing literature and important implications emerged from this study. Findings of this study confirmed that PWSMI want to be competitively and gainfully employed, but experience various barriers (e.g., discrimination, stigma, prejudice, decreased motivation, work disincentives, and persistent symptoms due to psychosis) and often lack guidance, understanding, and access to available vocational and career resources. Furthermore, the findings increased the literature concerning PWSMI and employment along with encouraging the development of future research, interventions, strategies, and therapeutic approaches.


Copyright 2015 Amanda L. Foster. All Rights Reserved.

Granting Institution

University of Texas-Pan American