My research program has grown out of my vision to determine the nature and relationship of the pursuit of employment or career goals and recovery for people living with serious mental illness. My research examined several theoretical models, including Social Cognitive Career Theory, Self-efficacy theory, State Hope theory, Empowerment and the Illness Identity Model of Recovery. Further, this work includes studying clinical variables and the psychiatric symptoms and diagnoses, on both career, and personal recovery for people living with serious mental illness.
I also am interested in the role of clinical issues and I worked with Dr. Weili Lu on a NIDDILR funded project as the Co-PI. We developed a CBT intervention which focused on teaching the skill of cognitive restructuring for individuals with co-occurring PTSD and serious mental illness in supported employment services. I worked as a clinician on the project, and the team is currently cleaning and analyzing data.
I have found a number of counter-intuitive, complex findings about inter-relationships and the role of symptoms, hope, education, self-efficacy, and employment success. I found that psychosocial and social cognitive variables often have limited impact in predicting employment outcomes. However, I did find that the human capital variable, education level did predict employment among people living with mental illness and receiving supported employment services in the community. I also found an unexpected finding around the role of psychiatric symptoms in predicting employment success.
My most recent work is on the role of internalized stigma and the illness identity model for participants receiving evidence based Assertive Community Treatment services. The findings suggest that internalized stigma may be more devastating to the recovery process than psychiatric symptoms.
My future vision is to develop an intervention that addressed internalized stigma to help individuals with serious mental illnesses and receiving Assertive Community Treatment services. I hope to continue research on the recovery process from serious mental illness, with a focus on continuing to study evidence based services.