Date of Award:

2015

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Special Education and Rehabilitation

Advisor/Chair:

Julie F. Smart

Abstract

The primary objective of this study was to examine the impact of providing feedback with group counseling upon the employment, symptom distress, interpersonal relationships, social role, and mental health functioning of 30 individuals with disabilities receiving services at a state vocational rehabilitation agency. Utilizing a repeated measures randomized wait-list control trial design, participants were randomly assigned to one of two conditions: treatment (feedback plus group counseling) or treatment-asusual (group counseling only). Each participant completed the Outcome Questionnaire- 45, a measure of mental health, on a weekly basis and attended a group counseling program, 1.5 hours each week, for 10 weeks at one of five different offices within a vocational rehabilitation state agency. Analyses of improved mental health functioning between the experimental and control groups failed to reach statistical significance. Analyses found three statistically significant three-way interactions between time, condition, and public benefits when interpersonal relationships (p=.025); social role performance (p=.021), and mental health functioning (p=.028) were the dependent variables. Participant ratings in the feedback condition for progress made toward employment were significantly higher than those of participants in the treatment-as-usual. Similarly, the proportion of participants employed at the end of the group counseling program was statistically significant and favored the treatment condition. Taken as a whole, results raise the possible importance of public benefits and the use of feedback and group counseling for improving employment outcomes and functioning in the areas of interpersonal relationships, social roles, and overall mental health.

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