Facing unemployment: study protocol for the implementation and evaluation of a community-based intervention for psychological well-being promotion

Ana Virgolino, Maria João Heitor, Joana Carreiras, Elisa Lopes, Simon Øverland, Steffen Torp, Dóra Guðmundsdóttir, José Pereira Miguel, M. Fátima Reis, Osvaldo Santos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Background Economic crises and unemployment have profound impact on mental health and well-being. Main goal of the Healthy Employment (HE) project is to enhance intersectoral actions promoting mental health among unemployed, namely through the implementation and effectiveness-evaluation of short-term and sustainable group interventions. Methods The project follows a RE-AIM-based (Reach, Effectiveness, Adoption, Implementation and Maintenance) framework for assessing a cognitive-behavioural and psychoeducational intervention that has been developed for promoting mental health among unemployed people. It is a short-term group intervention (five sessions, four hours each, 20 unemployed persons per group) focused on mental health literacy, interpersonal communication and of emotional regulation. Implementation of the intervention will be carried out by clinical psychologists, following a standardized procedure manual. Effectiveness will be assessed through a randomized field study with two arms (intervention and control). Participants are unemployed people (18–65 years old, both genders, having at least nine years of formal education) registered at public employment centres from different geographical regions for less than 12 months (including first-job seekers). Allocation to arms of the study will follow a random match-to-case process, considering gender, age groups and educational level. Three moments of evaluation will occur: before intervention (baseline), immediately after its ending and three months later. Main outcomes are mental health literacy, mental health related personal and perceived stigma, psychological well-being, satisfaction with life and resilience. Intention-to-treat and per-protocol analyses will be conducted. Cohen’s d coefficient and odds ratio will be used for assessing the size of the intervention effect, when significant. Discussion Scientific and clinical knowledge will be applied to promote/protect psychological well-being of unemployed people. While the first phases of the project are funded by the European Economic Area Grants, long-term assessments of the intervention require a larger timeframe. Further funding and institutional support will be sought for this purpose. Already established intersectoral collaborations are key-assets to reach long-term sustainability of this project. Trial registration The study was registered with the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry; Prospectively registered number: ACTRN12616001432404; date of registration: 13 October 2016.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages261
JournalBMC Psychiatry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jul 2017

Other keywords

  • Psychological well being
  • Mental health promotion
  • Unemployment
  • Economic crises
  • Randomized field study
  • Study protocol
  • Líðan
  • Atvinnuleysi
  • Efnahagskreppur


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