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Virtual Reality Job Interview Training for Individuals With Psychiatric Disabilities

Smith, Matthew J. PhD, LCSW, MPE*; Ginger, Emily J. BA*; Wright, Michael BA*; Wright, Katherine MPH*; Boteler Humm, Laura BS; Olsen, Dale PhD; Bell, Morris D. PhD; Fleming, Michael F. MD

The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: September 2014 - Volume 202 - Issue 9 - p 659–667
doi: 10.1097/NMD.0000000000000187
Original Articles

Services are available to help support existing employment for individuals with psychiatric disabilities; however, there is a gap in services targeting job interview skills that can help obtain employment. We assessed the feasibility and efficacy of Virtual Reality Job Interview Training (VR-JIT) in a randomized controlled trial. Participants were randomized to VR-JIT (n = 25) or treatment-as-usual (TAU) (n = 12) groups. VR-JIT consisted of 10 hours of simulated job interviews with a virtual character and didactic online training. The participants attended 95% of laboratory-based training sessions and found VR-JIT easy to use and felt prepared for future interviews. The VR-JIT group improved their job interview role-play performance (p ≤ 0.05) and self-confidence (p ≤ 0.05) between baseline and follow-up as compared with the TAU group. VR-JIT performance scores increased over time (R 2 = 0.65). VR-JIT demonstrated initial feasibility and efficacy at improving job interview skills and self-confidence. Future research may help clarify whether this intervention is efficacious in community-based settings.

*Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL; †SIMmersion LLC, Columbia, MD; ‡Department of Psychiatry, Yale School of Medicine, Department of Veterans Affairs, West Haven, CT; and §Department of Family Medicine, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL.

Send reprint requests to Matthew J. Smith, PhD, LCSW, MPE, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, 710 N. Lake Shore Dr, Abbott Hall 13th Floor, Chicago, IL 60611. E-mail: matthewsmith@northwestern.edu.

© 2014 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins