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Intervention Summary

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JOBS Program

The JOBS Program is intended to prevent and reduce negative effects on mental health associated with unemployment and job-seeking stress, while promoting high-quality reemployment. Structured as a job search seminar, the program teaches participants effective strategies for finding and obtaining suitable employment as well as for anticipating and dealing with the inevitable setbacks they will encounter. The program also incorporates elements to increase participants' self-esteem, sense of control, and job search self-efficacy. By improving their job-seeking skills and sense of personal mastery, the program inoculates participants against feelings of helplessness, anxiety, depression, and other stress-related mental health problems.

JOBS seminars use interactive methods to engage participants, such as small- and large-group discussions and modeling and role-playing techniques. The sessions include exercises to identify and convey one's job-related skills, use social networks to obtain job leads, contact potential employers, prepare job applications and resumes, and go through a job interview. Problem-solving exercises help participants prepare for and cope with the stresses of unemployment, the job search process, and setbacks.

The JOBS Program is delivered during five half-day sessions in employment offices, social service settings, community settings, and outplacement programs. Participants can be recruited from central organizational settings such as State employment offices or outplacement programs in corporate human resources departments. Seminars are provided to groups of 12-20 participants by a pair of trainers who receive approximately 160 hours of formal training, during which they learn about group processes and the theoretical bases of the intervention, undergo extensive rehearsal, and practice the delivery of the intervention.

Descriptive Information

Areas of Interest Mental health promotion
Mental health treatment
Outcomes Review Date: April 2010
1: Social support
2: Sense of personal mastery
3: Mental health
4: Reemployment status and quality
Outcome Categories Employment
Family/relationships
Mental health
Quality of life
Ages 18-25 (Young adult)
26-55 (Adult)
55+ (Older adult)
Genders Male
Female
Races/Ethnicities Black or African American
White
Race/ethnicity unspecified
Settings Other community settings
Geographic Locations Urban
Implementation History Since 1989, the JOBS Program has been administered to more than 20,000 individuals. JOBS trainings have been implemented in dozens of sites in the United States and in China, Finland, Ireland, Korea, and the Netherlands.
NIH Funding/CER Studies Partially/fully funded by National Institutes of Health: Yes
Evaluated in comparative effectiveness research studies: Yes
Adaptations The JOBS program has been adapted for use in other countries and for use with welfare-to-work populations in Maryland and California.
Adverse Effects No adverse effects, concerns, or unintended consequences were identified by the developer.
IOM Prevention Categories Selective
Indicated

Quality of Research
Review Date: April 2010

Documents Reviewed

The documents below were reviewed for Quality of Research. The research point of contact can provide information regarding the studies reviewed and the availability of additional materials, including those from more recent studies that may have been conducted.

Study 1

Caplan, R. D., Vinokur, A. D., Price, R. H., & van Ryn, M. (1989). Job seeking, reemployment, and mental health: A randomized field experiment in coping with job loss. Journal of Applied Psychology, 74(5), 759-769.  Pub Med icon

Price, R. H., van Ryn, M., & Vinokur, A. D. (1992). Impact of a preventive job search intervention on the likelihood of depression among the unemployed. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 33(2), 158-167.  Pub Med icon

Study 2

Vinokur, A. D., Price, R. H., & Schul, Y. (1995). Impact of the JOBS intervention on unemployed workers varying in risk for depression. American Journal of Community Psychology, 23(1), 39-74.  Pub Med icon

Vinokur, A. D., Schul, Y., Vuori, J., & Price, R. H. (2000). Two years after a job loss: Long-term impact of the JOBS program on reemployment and mental health. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 5(1), 32-47.  Pub Med icon

Supplementary Materials

Little, R. J., & Yau, L. H. Y. (1998). Statistical techniques for analyzing data from prevention trials: Treatment of no-shows using Rubin's causal model. Psychological Methods, 3(2), 147-159.

Vinokur, A. D., & Price, R. H. (1999). JOBS II Preventive Intervention for Unemployed Job Seekers, 1991-1993: Southeast Michigan. Codebook for all parts. Volumes 1, 2, and 3. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research. Retrieved from http://www.icpsr.umich.edu/icpsrweb/ICPSR/studies/2739/documentation

Vinokur, A. D., Price, R. H., & Caplan, R. D. (1991). From field experiments to program implementation: Assessing the potential outcomes of an experimental intervention program for unemployed persons. American Journal of Community Psychology, 19(4), 543-562.  Pub Med icon

Vuori, J., Price, R. H., Mutanen, P., & Malmberg-Heimonen, I. (2005). Effective group training techniques in job-search training. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 10(3), 261-275.  Pub Med icon

Outcomes

Outcome 1: Social support
Description of Measures Social support was measured with an 8-item scale developed by Abbey, Abramis, and Caplan. Respondents were asked to characterize their relationship with their spouse or a person they see often and feel close to. They rated how much the following forms of social support were provided through the relationship, on a scale from 1 (not at all) to 5 (a great deal): "encouragement," "caring," "useful information," "listening," "saying things that raise self-confidence," "talking with the person when upset," "understanding," and "direct help."
Key Findings Participants who received the JOBS training and remained unemployed reported no decline in social support from a significant other from 4 weeks to 4 months after the intervention, while unemployed participants in the comparison group, who received a self-help booklet, did report a decline in social support (p < .05).
Studies Measuring Outcome Study 1
Study Designs Experimental
Quality of Research Rating 3.0 (0.0-4.0 scale)
Outcome 2: Sense of personal mastery
Description of Measures Sense of personal mastery consisted of the following measures:

  • Job-seeking self-efficacy: Respondents rated, on a scale from 1 (not at all confident) to 5 (a great deal confident), how they felt they were at performing behaviors required for getting a job, such as using their social networks to obtain job leads, preparing resumes, and interviewing.
  • Self-esteem: Respondents rated their degree of agreement or disagreement on a scale from 1 (strongly agree) to 5 (strongly disagree) with statements such as "I am able to do things as well as most other people," and "On the whole I am satisfied with myself." Items were based on Rosenberg's self-esteem scale.
  • Locus of control: Using a 10-item index, respondents rated their degree of agreement or disagreement on a scale from 1 (strongly agree) to 5 (strongly disagree) with statements such as "What is going to happen will happen," "Trusting fate has never turned out well for me," and "Decisions could be made just as well by flipping a coin." Items were based on the original Rotter Internal-External Locus of Control scale.
Key Findings In one study, at both 4 weeks (p = .02) and 4 months (p = .02) after the intervention, unemployed participants who received the JOBS training reported higher perceived self-efficacy in their job-seeking ability than unemployed comparison group participants, who received a self-help booklet. Additionally, among reemployed participants who received the JOBS training, the more sessions they attended, the greater was the increase in job-seeking self-efficacy (p < .01) and self-esteem (p < .05) from pretest to 4 weeks after the intervention.

In a second study, a personal mastery measure was constructed by computing the mean scores of the above three measures (job-seeking self-efficacy, self-esteem, and locus of control), following a confirmatory factor analysis. Participants who received the JOBS training reported significantly higher levels of personal mastery at both 2 months and 6 months after the intervention than unemployed comparison group participants, who received a self-help booklet (p < .01). These findings were associated with very small (Cohen's d = 0.19) and small (Cohen's d = 0.21) effect sizes, respectively.
Studies Measuring Outcome Study 1, Study 2
Study Designs Experimental
Quality of Research Rating 3.3 (0.0-4.0 scale)
Outcome 3: Mental health
Description of Measures Mental health was assessed with the following measures:

  • Depression: Using an 11-item scale based on the depression subscale of the Hopkins Symptom Checklist, respondents indicated how much, on a scale from 1 (not at all) to 5 (extremely), they had been bothered or distressed in the past 2 weeks by various depression symptoms such as feeling blue, having thoughts of ending one's life, and crying easily.
  • Quality of life: Using an 8-item scale, respondents indicated their satisfaction with each item (e.g., "How do you feel about your life as a whole?") on a scale from 1 to 7, where 1 = terrible, 2 = unhappy, 3 = mostly dissatisfied, 4 = mixed, 5 = mostly satisfied, 6 = pleased, and 7 = delighted.
  • Distress symptoms: Using an 18-item index, respondents and their spouses/significant others rated on a scale from 1 (none of the time) to 5 (all of the time) how much of the time during the past 2 weeks the respondent experienced various symptoms such as restlessness, anxiety, and inattentiveness.
  • Role and emotional functioning: Using a 15-item index, respondents and their spouses/significant others rated on a scale from 1 (very poorly) to 5 (exceptionally well) how well the respondent did in the last 2 weeks with respect to various roles and emotional tasks, such as handling responsibilities and daily demands, staying level-headed, and making the right decisions.
Key Findings In two studies, a subgroup of participants was identified as being at higher risk for elevated depressive symptoms at follow-up based on higher combined scores on depressive symptoms, financial strain, and low assertiveness at pretest.

In the first study, controlling for participants' depression at pretest and the number of hours worked during the follow-up period, among participants identified as being at higher risk for a depression episode, those who received JOBS training had significantly lower levels of depression 4 weeks (p = .01), 4 months (p = .001), and 28 months (p = .01) after the intervention than high-risk participants in the comparison group, who received a self-help book . Further, among high-risk participants receiving the intervention, there was a lower number of participants who experienced a severe episode of depression during any follow-up period (p < .02) and a lower number of severe episodes observed (p < .01) than among the high-risk participants in the comparison group. Additionally, among reemployed participants who received the JOBS training, the more sessions they attended, the greater was the increase in quality of life (p < .05) from pretest to 4 weeks after the intervention.

In the second study, at both 2 months and 6 months after the intervention, high-risk respondents who received the JOBS training exhibited significantly lower levels of depressive symptomatology (p < .05 and p < .01, respectively) and distress symptoms (p < .06, measured at 6-month follow-up only) and higher levels of role and emotional functioning scores (p < .01, measured at 6-month follow-up only) than their high-risk counterparts in the comparison group, who received a self-help book.

The moderating effects of risk for depression that were found at 2- and 6-month follow-up were not found at 2-year follow-up. Compared with participants assigned to the comparison condition, those who received the JOBS training, regardless of risk for depression, had a lower level of depressive symptoms (p < .05) and higher level of role and emotional functioning (p < .05). Additionally, significantly fewer actually met a stringent criterion for a major depressive episode (MDE) diagnosis (p < .05).
Studies Measuring Outcome Study 1, Study 2
Study Designs Experimental
Quality of Research Rating 3.4 (0.0-4.0 scale)
Outcome 4: Reemployment status and quality
Description of Measures In one study, participants were classified as reemployed if they reported working at least 20 hours per week and characterized the number of hours employed as "working enough." Persons working fewer than 20 hours per week and characterizing that amount as "not working enough" were categorized as not reemployed. All other responses were dropped from the analysis.

In a second study, reemployment was defined as described above, using both objective and subjective criteria; additionally, separate analyses were conducted on all participants, categorizing those working 20 hours per week or more as reemployed and those working fewer than 20 hours per week as unemployed.
Key Findings In one study, at both 4 weeks and 4 months after the intervention, JOBS participants had a significantly higher reemployment rate than participants in the comparison group, who received a self-help booklet (p = .04 and p = .025, respectively). Furthermore, the percentage of persons who had found reemployment in what they characterized as their main occupation was higher for the experimental group at both 4-week (p = .004) and 4-month (p = .008) follow-up.

In a second study, participants who received the JOBS training had a significantly higher reemployment rate 2 months after the intervention, based on both objective criteria alone and the combination of objective and subjective criteria, relative to comparison group participants who received a self-help booklet (p < .05). By 6-month follow-up, only those participants in the JOBS intervention group who were at high risk for increased depression still had a significantly higher reemployment rate (based on both objective criteria alone and the combination of objective and subjective criteria) relative to the comparison group (p < .05).

High-risk participants who received JOBS training reported significantly higher incomes than high-risk participants in the comparison group at both 2-month and 6-month follow-up (p < .05). These findings were associated with small effect sizes (Cohen's d = 0.22 and 0.26, respectively).

At 2-year follow-up, relative to the comparison group, the JOBS training group had a significantly higher percentage of respondents who were currently employed for 20 or more hours per week (p < .01), working more hours per week (p < .01), earning a higher income per month (p < .01), and working more months during the past 12 months (p < .05).
Studies Measuring Outcome Study 1, Study 2
Study Designs Experimental
Quality of Research Rating 3.0 (0.0-4.0 scale)

Study Populations

The following populations were identified in the studies reviewed for Quality of Research.

Study Age Gender Race/Ethnicity
Study 1 18-25 (Young adult)
26-55 (Adult)
55+ (Older adult)
54% Female
46% Male
85% Race/ethnicity unspecified
15% Black or African American
Study 2 18-25 (Young adult)
26-55 (Adult)
55+ (Older adult)
55% Female
45% Male
76% White
21.5% Black or African American
2.5% Race/ethnicity unspecified

Quality of Research Ratings by Criteria (0.0-4.0 scale)

External reviewers independently evaluate the Quality of Research for an intervention's reported results using six criteria:

  1. Reliability of measures
  2. Validity of measures
  3. Intervention fidelity
  4. Missing data and attrition
  5. Potential confounding variables
  6. Appropriateness of analysis

For more information about these criteria and the meaning of the ratings, see Quality of Research.

Outcome Reliability
of Measures
Validity
of Measures
Fidelity Missing
Data/Attrition
Confounding
Variables
Data
Analysis
Overall
Rating
1: Social support 3.5 3.5 3.3 2.3 2.8 2.8 3.0
2: Sense of personal mastery 3.8 3.5 3.4 2.6 2.9 3.8 3.3
3: Mental health 3.8 3.6 3.4 2.9 2.9 3.8 3.4
4: Reemployment status and quality 2.6 2.8 3.4 2.5 2.8 3.8 3.0

Study Strengths

For most outcomes, the authors used multi-item measures from standardized survey instruments with strong psychometric properties. The validity of the mental health measures was further demonstrated as both the participant and the participant's significant other provided ratings. The JOBS trainers delivering the intervention received extensive formal training using a standardized manual developed for the intervention; they were observed regularly and received immediate feedback. Follow-up rates were well within expectations for this type of study. Attrition analyses conducted by the authors suggest that differential attrition rates did not compromise the internal validity of the results. Threats to internal validity also were controlled through the experimental design (randomized controlled trial) by controlling for some variables in analyses (i.e., age, sex, occupation, education, income, and psychosocial state), and by including a random sample of dropouts. The types of analyses conducted (e.g., ANOVA, logistic regression, ordinary least squares regression, dose analysis) and sample size are both more than adequate. The use of an intent-to-treat approach maintained the integrity of the randomized study design.

Study Weaknesses

One of the indicators of reemployment status was problematic in that it combined two different concepts: reported number of hours working and the respondent's perception of whether he or she was working enough. The latter of these measures is prone to bias, and the authors provided no reliability data for it. Respondents were included in analyses only if they were either working 20 or more hours and indicated this was enough (reemployed) or working fewer than 20 hours and indicated this was not enough (not reemployed). Implementation fidelity was measured using participants' perceptions of the training process, an approach that is less than ideal. Approximately half of those who were recruited failed to attend the intervention. There was no discussion of how, if at all, the authors treated missing data. It appears that the authors conducted analyses only on those participants for whom they had complete data.

Readiness for Dissemination
Review Date: April 2010

Materials Reviewed

The materials below were reviewed for Readiness for Dissemination. The implementation point of contact can provide information regarding implementation of the intervention and the availability of additional, updated, or new materials.

Curran, J., Wishart, P., & Gingrich, J. (1999). JOBS: A manual for teaching people successful job search strategies. Michigan Prevention Research Center, Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Regents.

Michigan Prevention Research Center, Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan. (2001). From within themselves: Training for the Winning New Jobs Program [VHS]. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Regents.

Program Web site, http://www.isr.umich.edu/src/seh/mprc/jobsupdt.html

University of Michigan. (2000). Winning new jobs, path to the future [VHS]. Ann Arbor, MI: Author.

Readiness for Dissemination Ratings by Criteria (0.0-4.0 scale)

External reviewers independently evaluate the intervention's Readiness for Dissemination using three criteria:

  1. Availability of implementation materials
  2. Availability of training and support resources
  3. Availability of quality assurance procedures

For more information about these criteria and the meaning of the ratings, see Readiness for Dissemination.

Implementation
Materials
Training and Support
Resources
Quality Assurance
Procedures
Overall
Rating
3.0 1.8 3.0 2.6

Dissemination Strengths

The JOBS Program manual contains detailed and specific information to assist with program implementation. It comprehensively addresses each step of the implementation process and explains how to respond to issues that can be expected during each of these steps. The manual includes an abundance of helpful forms, handouts, and exhibits as well as a detailed lesson plan, and is well suited for supporting training and coaching. In addition, the developer is available by phone to answer questions about the program. Clear, easily implemented quality assurance standards and protocols for effective implementation are provided in the manual. The trainer observation protocols provide a structured format for evaluating whether the trainer implements the program with fidelity. The pre- and posttest assessments of program participants allow for the immediate assessment of changes in knowledge, skills, and attitudes that impact the individual's job-seeking abilities.

Dissemination Weaknesses

Some aspects of the materials are dated; the videos are in VHS format, and the manual refers to creating resumes on typewriters and word processors and printing out resumes, not taking into consideration that the job search process has become increasingly electronic. Ongoing training and support do not appear to be provided. There is no follow-up training or coaching for experienced trainers, and no train-the-trainer program is offered. The manual does not include any guidelines or protocols for conducting follow-up assessments to measure longer-term outcomes.

Costs

The cost information below was provided by the developer. Although this cost information may have been updated by the developer since the time of review, it may not reflect the current costs or availability of items (including newly developed or discontinued items). The implementation point of contact can provide current information and discuss implementation requirements.

Item Description Cost Required by Developer
JOBS: A Manual for Teaching People Successful Job Search Strategies (includes quality assurance materials) Free if downloaded from developer Web site; $28 for a hard copy Yes
Participant information package $12 per participant Yes
4- to 6-week training About $14,000 for up to 25 people, plus travel expenses Yes
1.5-day consultation $3,000 No
Replications

Selected citations are presented below. An asterisk indicates that the document was reviewed for Quality of Research.

Barry, M. (2005). Preliminary finds for the "Winning New Jobs" programme in Ireland. Galway, Ireland: Centre for Health Promotion Studies, The National University of Ireland, Galway.

* Caplan, R. D., Vinokur, A. D., Price, R. H., & van Ryn, M. (1989). Job seeking, reemployment, and mental health: A randomized field experiment in coping with job loss. Journal of Applied Psychology, 74(5), 759-769.  Pub Med icon

Choi, J., Price, R. H., & Vinokur, A. D. (2003). Self-efficacy changes in groups: Effects of diversity, leadership, and group climate. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 24(4), 357-372.

Fang, L., & Ling, W. (Eds.). (2001). JOBS in China: A seven city project. Beijing, People's Republic of China: Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Lee, S. J., & Vinokur, A. D. (2007). Work barriers in the context of pathways to the employment of welfare-to-work clients. American Journal of Community Psychology, 40(3-4), 301-312.  Pub Med icon

* Vinokur, A. D., Price, R. H., & Schul, Y. (1995). Impact of the JOBS intervention on unemployed workers varying in risk for depression. American Journal of Community Psychology, 23(1), 39-74.  Pub Med icon

Vuori, J., Price, R. H., Mutanen, P., & Malmberg-Heimonen, I. (2005). Effective group training techniques in job-search training. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 10, 261-275.  Pub Med icon

Contact Information

To learn more about implementation or research, contact:
Richard H. Price, Ph.D.
(734) 763-0446
ricprice@umich.edu

Amiram D. Vinokur, Ph.D.
(734) 647-0858
avinokur@umich.edu

Consider these Questions to Ask (PDF, 54KB) as you explore the possible use of this intervention.

Web Site(s):