Intervention to prevent and manage the effects of victimization related to social participation for people with severe mental illness: Results from a cluster randomized controlled trial

W. Albers*, D. P. K. Roeg, Y. A. M. Nijssen, M. Deen, I. M. B. Bongers, J. van Weeghel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review



Individuals with severe mental illness often face (anticipated) discrimination and (criminal) victimization, which have severe consequences for their social participation. The aim of the present study is to assess the effectiveness of a new intervention to manage and prevent revictimization, and to support safe participation by recognizing and acknowledging the impact of their victimization experiences. 


A multicenter cluster randomized controlled trial was performed by following clients from four intervention teams and four teams providing care as usual. The primary outcomes were social participation, victimization, and discrimination. The secondary outcomes were acknowledgment of difficulties, self-efficacy and empowerment, quality of life, and psychosocial functioning. Data were collected at baseline, and after 10- and 20-month follow-ups. The data were analyzed according to the intention-to-treat principle using linear mixed models and generalized estimating equations. In total, 400 clients were included in the analyses: 216 in the intervention group and 184 in the control group. 


For experienced discrimination and acknowledgment of difficulties and recovery support, we found small but significant time by condition interactions after 20 months. Both experienced and anticipated discrimination, and self-efficacy increased slightly in both groups. No significant differences were found for other outcome measures. 

Conclusions and Implications for Practice: 

The intervention had no effect on victimization and participation, but there were indications that it was successful in moderating experienced discrimination. The clients also felt significantly more acknowledged and supported in their recovery process. Further development of the intervention is needed, and future research should focus on improving implementation.

Impact and Implications: 

Our study offers insights into how to reduce the uncertainty around discussing victimization that hampers participation, by assessing an intervention to support mental health practitioners to initiate the conversation on victimization with individuals with mental illness. This intervention had no effects on participation and victimization. It was found to successfully moderate experienced discrimination. Clients felt that their victimization experiences were acknowledged and that they were supported in their recovery process. 

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)254-265
JournalPsychiatric Rehabilitation Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • discrimination and stigmatization
  • randomized controlled trial
  • severe mental illness
  • social participation
  • victimization


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