• Work aims to demonstrate how and why participation in Active Labour Market Programmes (ALMPs) affects the mental health and wellbeing of unemployed job seekers in the UK.
  • Will be carried out by Dr Adam Coutts at the Department of Sociology, University of Cambridge.
  • Due to be completed in 2020.

There is a wealth of evidence to demonstrate that the health needs of those who are out of work are higher than the in-work population, but limited research into effective interventions that facilitate return to work in the UK and how these interventions may affect health and wellbeing.

The focus for the study is a Department of Work and Pensions programme - Group Work JOBS II which provides a group-based educational intervention that aims to promote reemployment and enhance the mental health and wellbeing of participants.

Dr Coutts is carrying out a secondment with the Work and Health Joint Unit of the DWP. The evaluation involve a randomised controlled trial of 9,000 job seekers and aims to answer the following questions:

  • Are the impacts on mental health, wellbeing and employment outcomes sustained over time?
  • What components of intervention (active elements) appear to generate the most health change among participants?
  • Can a model of responsiveness be developed to predict who will benefit most in terms of mental health, wellbeing and job entry?
  • What is the cost benefit of any health changes observed via participation in Group Work?

Additional qualitative work will explore the influence of the ‘active’ components of the intervention and examine how a large scale social policy intervention and experimental evaluation is implemented by government and what are the key challenges.

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