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Job More Likely If Mentally Ill Have Cognitive Training

Thinking Skills for Work Program helps maintain work hours for patients

MONDAY, March 19 (HealthDay News) -- Integrating cognitive rehabilitation into supported work programs for patients with severe mental illness is feasible and improves cognitive functioning better than work programs alone, according to a report in the March issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.

Susan McGurk, Ph.D., from Dartmouth Medical School in Hanover, N.H., and colleagues randomly assigned 44 patients with severe mental illness and histories of job failure to either a supported work program alone or with cognitive training assistance using the Thinking Skills for Work Program. Their objective was to address how cognitive impairment limits supported employment programs.

After two to three years of treatment, patients who received cognitive training during supported employment were more likely to work, hold their jobs, work more hours and weeks, and earn more wages than patients enrolled in supported employment alone. Patients in the cognitive training program also showed greater improvement in cognitive functioning, depression and autistic preoccupation.

"The findings support the feasibility of integrating cognitive rehabilitation into supported employment programs and suggest that more research is warranted to evaluate the effects of the Thinking Skills for Work Program," the authors write.

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