Condition category
Mental and Behavioural Disorders
Date applied
Date assigned
Last edited
Retrospectively registered
Overall trial status
Recruitment status
No longer recruiting

Plain English Summary

Background and study aims
People with severe mental illness should have access to competitive employment in order to improve their chances of social integration. At present the most successful approach is supported employment, where a job coach helps patients to find competitive employment as soon as possible, corresponding to their wishes, and continues to support them, so that jobs can be held down as long as possible. Studies have found that the goal of taking up employment within 2 months is rarely achieved. The aim of this study is to find out whether limiting the number of working hours the job coach spends finding a job for each patient (the placement budget) leads to a faster take up of competitive employment. If this is true, the job coach could invest more working hours supporting the patient on the job and his/her employer.

Who can participate?
Patients of working age (18-60) undergoing treatment in one of the six participating outpatient psychiatric clinics, who have been unemployed for 12 months and are looking for competitive employment.

What does the study involve?
Participants are randomly allocated to one of three set placement budgets (either 25, 40 or 55 hours with the job coach). They are supported by a job coach for a maximum of 2 years. As part of this process an interview lasting about one hour takes place upon entering the study and every six months thereafter, regardless of whether the participant is still in the job coaching or not. The questioning of the participants therefore stretches over a period of 3 years.

What are the possible benefits and risks of participating?
Not provided at time of registration.

Where is the study run from?
Six outpatient psychiatric clinics in the Canton of Zurich (Switzerland).

When is the study starting and how long is it expected to run for?
June 2010 to May 2014.

Who is funding the study?
The Zurich Program for Sustainable Development of Mental Health Services (ZInEP).

Who is the main contact?
Dr Carlos Nordt

Trial website

Contact information



Primary contact

Dr Carlos Nordt


Contact details

Psychiatric University Hospital Zurich
Research Unit for Clinical and Social Psychiatry
Lenggstrasse 31
PO Box 1931

Additional identifiers

EudraCT number number

Protocol/serial number


Study information

Scientific title

‘Placement Budgets’ for supported employment - improving competitive employment for people with mental illness: a randomized controlled trial


Study hypothesis

1. The more limited the amount of working hours of a job coach to find a job (limited ‘placement budget’) the faster a placement in the open, competitive employment. If this is true, the job coach could invest more working hours to support the patient on the job and his/her employer.
2. Reveal factors for fast job placement and long-term job tenure. Primary issues are motivation, stigmatization, social network and social support, quality of life, job satisfaction, financial situation, and health conditions. Neuro-cognitive tests will be conducted to control confounding variables.

Ethics approval

Zurich Cantonal Ethics Committee (CEC), Division 3 (Kantonale Ethik-Kommission Zürich (KEK) Abteilung 3), 30/09/2009, ref E-51/2009

Study design

Multicentre randomized controlled trial

Primary study design


Secondary study design

Randomised controlled trial

Trial setting


Trial type

Quality of life

Patient information sheet


Mental illness


Supported Employment according to the IPS (Individual Placement and Support) model, randomizing the patients to three different placement budgets of 25h, 40h, or 55h working hours of the job coaches. Supported Employment lasts two years for those who find a job. The intervention ends if the placement budgets run out for those who didn’t find a competitive employment.

Intervention type



Not Applicable

Drug names

Primary outcome measure

Time between study inclusion and first competitive employment that lasted 3 months or longer

Secondary outcome measures

1. Motivation
2. Stigmatization
3. Social network and social support
4. Quality of life
5. Job satisfaction
6. Financial situation
7. Health conditions
Measured at baseline (t0) and every six months thereafter (t1-t6)

Overall trial start date


Overall trial end date


Reason abandoned (if study stopped)


Participant inclusion criteria

1. Current treatment in one of the six participating outpatient psychiatric clinics
2. Twelve months unemployment and no program of vocational integration over the last three months
3. Motivation to work in competitive employment
4. Working age (18-60 years)
5. Resident in the canton of Zurich
6. Willing and capable of giving informed consent

Participant type


Age group




Target number of participants


Participant exclusion criteria

1. Severe organic illness (ICD-10, F0)
1. Insufficient knowledge of German

Recruitment start date


Recruitment end date



Countries of recruitment


Trial participating centre

Psychiatric University Hospital Zurich

Sponsor information


Department of Health Canton Zurich (Gesundheitsdirektion Kanton Zürich) (Switzerland)

Sponsor details

Obstgartenstr. 19-21

Sponsor type




Funder type


Funder name

Department of Health Canton Zurich (Gesundheitsdirektion Kanton Zürich) (Switzerland)

Alternative name(s)

Funding Body Type

Funding Body Subtype


Results and Publications

Publication and dissemination plan

Not provided at time of registration

Intention to publish date

Participant level data

Not provided at time of registration

Basic results (scientific)

Publication list

2012 protocol in:

Publication citations

  1. Protocol

    Nordt C, Brantschen E, Kawohl W, Bärtsch B, Haker H, Rüsch N, Rössler W, 'Placement budgets' for supported employment--improving competitive employment for people with mental illness: study protocol of a multicentre randomized controlled trial., BMC Psychiatry, 2012, 12, 165, doi: 10.1186/1471-244X-12-165.

Additional files

Editorial Notes