BACKGROUND: Individual Placement and Support (IPS) appears to be an effective vocational intervention for obtaining competitive employment for people with severe mental illness. However, no IPS studies or trials have been conducted in Denmark, a country characterized by a specialized labor market with a higher minimum wage and fewer entry-level jobs in comparison with other countries such as the US. Furthermore, long-term job retention and economic self-sufficiency have not been clearly demonstrated. Integrating methods such as cognitive remediation and work-related social skills training may be ways to address these issues.
METHODS/DESIGN: The trial design is an investigator-initiated, randomized, assessor-blinded, multi-center trial. A total of 750 patients with severe mental illness will be randomly assigned into three groups: (1) IPS, (2) IPS enhanced with cognitive remediation and work-related social skills training, and (3) service as usual. The primary outcome is number of hours in competitive employment or education at 18-month follow-up. Secondary and exploratory outcomes are money earned, days to first employment, symptoms, functional level, self-esteem, and self-efficacy at 18-month follow-up. Thirty- and 60-month follow-ups will be register-based.
DISCUSSION: This will be one of the largest randomized trials investigating IPS to date. The trial will be conducted with high methodological quality in order to reduce the risk of bias. If the results of this trial show that IPS, or IPS enhanced with cognitive remediation and work-related social skills training, is superior to service as usual, this will support preliminary evidence. Furthermore, it will show that the method is generalizable to a variety of labor markets and welfare systems and provide important knowledge about the effect of adding cognitive remediation and social skills training to the IPS intervention.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials registration number: NCT01722344 (registered 2 Nov. 2012).