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Career Development Research Projects

These projects are funded by The National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR), and from the Center for Mental Health Services of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, United States Department of Health and Human Services, ACL Grant# 90RT5031. NIDILRR is a Center within the Administration for Community Living (ACL), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Improving outcomes of youth and young adults (ages 16-21) with SMHC with adapted Individual Placement & Support

Lead Investigator: Marsha Ellison

Investigators: Gary Bond, PhD, Deborah Becker, MEd, CRC (Dartmouth), Steven Reeder, MEd, CPRP,, CRC (MD, DMH), Maryann Davis, PhD (UMass)

This study aims to adapt and pilot test an evidence-based employment model (Individual Placement and Support – IPS) which was previously designed and tested primarily for mature adults, so as to support the youngest of working age individuals with serious mental health conditions (ages 16-21). By improving employment and education outcomes during this foundational time, we hope to divert potential trajectories of poverty and disability benefits dependence. We will conduct an open trial of the model involving 50 youth and young adults with a two-and-a-half-year follow-up at two sites in the state of Maryland. Interview data will be collected every six months from participating youth and young adults, and supported employment specialists, and this data will be used to inform final revisions to the manual and to determine program outcomes.  

Peer Academic Coaching Support for College Students

PIs:  Maryann Davis, PhD, Amand Costa, BS
Investigators: Tania Duperoy, BA, Kathryn Sabella, MA, Marsha Ellison, PhD (UMass). Dorothy Hutchinson, PhD (Boston University), & Mary Huber, PhD (Wright University)

The goal of this project is to produce an empirically supported peer coach intervention, called Peer Academic Supports for Success (PASS), to help new college students with serious mentalh health conditions (SMHC) succeed academically. PASS will be developed in partnership with young adults with lived experience. PASS is intended to be a combination of two previous approaches: an existing Peer Coach approach designed for college freshmen with autism spectrum disorders and a non-peer Coaching approach that has been utilized with students with SMHC. Qualitative data gathered from students with SMHC and a review of relevant literature will be used to inform a small pilot open trial of the PASS model. Following this pilot open trial, intervention and research protocols will be revised as appropriate and then the finalized pilot randomized controlled trial will be implemented to produce feasibility findings to inform future intervention efficacy (stage 3) research.

Career Development Activities in Young Adulthood Among Individuals with SMHC

PI: Kathryn Sabella, MA

Co I's: Kathleen Biebel, PhD; Charles Lidz, PhD; Maryann Davis, PhD

This retrospective study aims to provide a long-term picture of career development activities during young adulthood among individuals with serious mental health conditions (SMHC). Through this study, we will create long-term narratives which will illustrate cumulative career development activities and pathways in early adulthood as framed by our theoretical model. These narratives will also allow us to assess the impact that becoming a young parent has on career development. We will explore barriers and facilitators to achieving employment, education, and training goals and identify malleable factors that could be potential targets of future interventions for youth and young adults. This study will be completed through one-time, qualitative interviews in which respondents (older young adults ages 26-30 with SMHC) will be asked to describe their education, training, and employment experiences from age 14 to present-day. 

A Prospective Longitudinal Study of Y&YA Employment and Education

PI: Charles Lidz, PhD

Investigators: Maryann Davis, PhD, Jonathan Delman, PhD, JD, MPH, Kathryn Sabella, MA

This study seeks to assess what affects the direction of employment and educational activities of youth and young adults with serious mental health conditions. These discoveries will facilitate the development and modification of employment and education services for young people with severe mental health disabilities. We believe this study is important because youth and young adults face serious challenges to developing a meaningful employment career and existing vocational and educational support services have had a limited impact on assisting youth and young adults to develop such careers. The study will recruit 150 youth and young adults from a variety of employment, educational, and clinical services and interview them at baseline and 3 four-month intervals over a year. All interviews will be done by youth and young adults who will also contribute actively to the analysis and writing of publications and to public presentations.

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