Vocational rehabilitation (VR) counselors do not always focus on competitive employment for people with severe mental illness (SMI). Based on the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB), this study examines how three types of VR counselors (i.e., gatekeepers, case managers, and specialists) vary in their underlying beliefs about competitive employment. VR counselors (N = 286) from Belgium completed an online TPB survey measuring behavioral, normative, control, and self-efficacy beliefs. Differences in beliefs were analyzed by one-way ANOVAs and post hoc comparisons using Bonferroni correction. Results indicate that counselors differ in their beliefs regarding competitive employment for people with SMI. Specialized counselors are stronger convinced that competitive employment results in latent benefits (e.g., increased integration and self-confidence). In contrast, gatekeepers consider income as the most recurrent and positive effect. The more specialized VR counselors are, the more often they perceive significant others valuing competitive employment and the more often they may comply with these norms. Finally, specialized counselors experience fewer barriers, more control, and more self-efficacy in dealing with problems compared with less specialized counselors. The differences in beliefs determining the focus on competitive employment may result in a lack of an integrated approach. Training, outcome feedback, and intersectoral communication can enhance consistency between different VR services.
Knaeps, J., Neyens, I., Donceel, P., van Weeghel, J., & Van Audenhove, C. (2015). Beliefs of vocational rehabilitation counselors about competitive employment for people with severe mental illness in Belgium. Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin , 58(3), 176-188. https://doi.org/10.1177/0034355214531075