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Sammen om individuell jobbstøtte: En kvalitativ studie av deltakelse og opplevelser fra deltakelse i Individual placement and support

A central theme emerged from both the observation and interview studies: financial insecurity interfered with individuals’ ability to focus on work. Jobseekers perceived their financial stability as contingent upon understanding and support from social workers, while therapists played a crucial role in enhancing this understanding.

Ellen Ånestad Moen

PhD Candidate

Ellen Ånestad Moen will defend the thesis Sammen om individuell jobbstøtte: En kvalitativ studie av deltakelse og opplevelser fra deltakelse i Individual placement and support 8 March 2024.

Summary of the thesis

This thesis delves into Individual placement and support (IPS), an evidence-based vocational rehabilitation method designed for individuals with severe mental illness. Quantitative studies have demonstrated that many within this target group wish to work but require assistance and continuous support in order to gain and maintain employment. IPS is demonstrated to consistently lead to higher employment rates compared to standard services. However, despite these positive outcomes, several participants receiving IPS remain unemployed. The primary objective of this thesis is thus to gain a comprehensive understanding of how IPS is carried out in practice and how stakeholders perceive it. This knowledge can potentially inform improvements in the IPS approach. 

Our exploration of IPS experiences involved three key methods: a systematic literature review, an observation study, and an interview study.  

The systematic literature review followed a meta-ethnographic approach, analysing the results from qualitative studies that investigated experiences from participation in IPS. Notably, previous research highlights the critical role of the relationship between jobseekers and employment specialists. Jobseekers perceive this relationship as pivotal, while also emphasizing the support they receive from therapists, social workers, family, and friends throughout their journey towards employment. Interestingly, few studies have explored how therapists and social workers themselves experience and engage with IPS.  

In the observation study, we explored the active participation of therapists and social workers (referred to as NAV-veiledere) in IPS. During this study, I observed 16 meetings between jobseekers, therapists, social workers, and employment specialists. We investigated how some participants experienced the observed meetings in the interview study. I conducted interviews with six jobseekers, six therapists, and six social workers after they participated in these meetings. Conversations during collaboration meetings and interviews were audiotaped, transcribed, and analysed using reflexive thematic analysis. 

A central theme emerged from both the observation and interview studies: financial insecurity interfered with individuals’ ability to focus on work. Jobseekers perceived their financial stability as contingent upon understanding and support from social workers, while therapists played a crucial role in enhancing this understanding. Interestingly, therapists and social workers acknowledged that they could have paid more attention to what the jobseekers were expressing, thereby contributing further to their recovery. The untapped potential thus lays in a more attentive listening during meetings, providing additional support to the jobseeker. The full potential of these meetings was thus not unlocked. One contributing factor was the conflicting interpretations of what information to disclose and what to withhold based on duty of confidentiality.  

This thesis contributes to both practical implementation and research on IPS by shedding light on the roles of therapists and social workers. When implementing this method, clear communication regarding information sharing and confidentiality becomes crucial. Furthermore, our findings have implications for the ongoing debate concerning the increasing number of young people receiving disability benefits. Recognizing the critical role of financial security as a foundation for being able to focus on work, can inform strategies aimed at boosting work participation.

More information about time and place for the doctoral defense.