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1.  Motivating Ergonomic Computer Workstation Setup: Sometimes Training Is Not Enough 
Musculoskeletal disorders lead to pain and suffering and result in high costs to industry. There is evidence to suggest that whereas conventional ergonomics training programs result in knowledge gains, they may not necessarily translate to changes in behavior. There were 11 participants in an ergonomics training program, and a subsample of participants received a motivational intervention in the form of incentives for correct workstation setup. Training did not yield any changes in ergonomics measures for any participant. Incentives resulted in marked and durable changes in targeted workstation measures. The data suggest that improving worker knowledge about ergonomically correct workstation setup does not necessarily lead to correct workstation setup, and that motivational interventions may be needed to achieve lasting behavior change.
PMCID: PMC3985273  PMID: 22429527
computer workstations; incentives; injury prevention; musculoskeletal disorders; training
2.  A Randomized Clinical Trial of a Therapeutic Workplace for Chronically Unemployed, Homeless, Alcohol-Dependent Adults 
Aims: To assess the efficacy of the Therapeutic Workplace, a substance abuse intervention that promotes abstinence while simultaneously addressing the issues of poverty and lack of job skills, in promoting abstinence from alcohol among homeless alcoholics. Methods: Participants (n = 124) were randomly assigned to conditions either requiring abstinence from alcohol to engage in paid job skills training (Contingent Paid Training group), offering paid job skills training with no abstinence contingencies (Paid Training group) or offering unpaid job skill training with no abstinence contingencies (Unpaid Training group). Results: Participants in the Contingent Paid Training group had significantly fewer positive (blood alcohol level ≥ 0.004 g/dl) breath samples than the Paid Training group in both randomly scheduled breath samples collected in the community and breath samples collected during monthly assessments. The breath sample results from the Unpaid Training group were similar in absolute terms to the Contingent Paid Training group, which may have been influenced by a lower breath sample collection rate in this group and fewer reported drinks per day consumed at intake. Conclusion: Overall, the results support the utility of the Therapeutic Workplace intervention to promote abstinence from alcohol among homeless alcoholics, and support paid training as a way of increasing engagement in training programs.
PMCID: PMC3156886  PMID: 21622676
Improving employees' posture may decrease the risk of musculoskeletal disorders. The current paper is a systematic replication and extension of Sigurdsson and Austin (2008), who found that an intervention consisting of information, real-time feedback, and self-monitoring improved participant posture at mock workstations. In the current study, participants worked in an applied setting, and posture data were collected at participants' own workstations and a mock workstation. Intervention in the mock setting was associated with consistent improvement in safe posture at the mock workstation, but generalization to the actual workstation was limited.
PMCID: PMC3050474  PMID: 21541108
ergonomics; musculoskeletal disorders; real-time feedback; self-monitoring
4.  Professional Demeanor of Chronically Unemployed Cocaine-Dependent Methadone Patients in a Therapeutic Workplace 
Substance use & misuse  2007;42(7):1141-1159.
This study assesses the frequency that users of illicit drugs display unprofessional behaviors in an employment setting. This research was conducted in the Therapeutic Workplace, a model employment-based treatment program for chronically unemployed adults with long-histories of illicit drug use. Unemployed adults in methadone treatment, who were opiate and cocaine dependent, showed signs of injection drug use, and recently used cocaine were hired to work for 4 hours every weekday for 7 months. Results show that while the overall incidence of many undesirable behaviors is low, a small percentage of participants had serious workplace behavior problems that might limit their success in community workplaces. This study suggests that unprofessional behavior in the workplace could contribute to chronic unemployment in this population.
PMCID: PMC3072792  PMID: 17668330
Employment; Heroin Addiction; Cocaine Addiction; Contingency management; Reinforcement; Vocation rehabilitation
Adults in a therapeutic workplace working on a computerized keyboarding training program earned vouchers for typing correct characters. Typing technique was evaluated on review steps. Participants could pass the review and earn a bonus, or skip the review and proceed with no bonus. Alternatively, participants could continue practicing on the same step. Participants persistently repeated the same step, which halted progress through the program but allowed them to increase their rate of responding and, as a result, their earnings. Blocking the initiation of practice on review steps and removing payment for practice initiated after prompts (extinction) both produced rapid progress through the program. These results underscore the importance of careful arrangement of the contingencies in adult education programs.
PMCID: PMC2741061  PMID: 20190923
addiction; extinction; job skills training; response blocking; voucher reinforcement
6.  Attendance Rates in A Workplace Predict Subsequent Outcome of Employment-Based Reinforcement of Cocaine Abstinence in Methadone Patients 
This study assessed whether attendance rates in a workplace predicted subsequent outcome of employment-based reinforcement of cocaine abstinence. Unemployed adults in Baltimore methadone programs who used cocaine (N  =  111) could work in a workplace for 4 hr every weekday and earn $10.00 per hour in vouchers for 26 weeks. During an induction period, participants provided urine samples but could work independent of their urinalysis results. After the induction period, participants had to provide urinalysis evidence of cocaine abstinence to work and maintain maximum pay. A multiple regression analysis showed that induction period attendance was independently associated with urinalysis evidence of cocaine abstinence under the employment-based abstinence reinforcement contingency. Induction period attendance may measure the reinforcing value of employment and could be used to guide the improvement of employment-based abstinence reinforcement.
PMCID: PMC2606606  PMID: 19192855
abstinence reinforcement; cocaine addiction; contingency management; employment; methadone
7.  A Randomized Trial of Employment-Based Reinforcement of Cocaine Abstinence in Injection Drug Users 
High-magnitude and long-duration abstinence reinforcement can promote drug abstinence but can be difficult to finance. Employment may be a vehicle for arranging high-magnitude and long-duration abstinence reinforcement. This study determined if employment-based abstinence reinforcement could increase cocaine abstinence in adults who inject drugs and use cocaine during methadone treatment. Participants could work 4 hr every weekday in a workplace where they could earn about $10.00 per hour in vouchers; they were required to provide routine urine samples. Participants who attended the workplace and provided cocaine-positive urine samples during the initial 4 weeks were invited to work 26 weeks and were randomly assigned to an abstinence-and-work (n  =  28) or work-only (n  =  28) group. Abstinence-and-work participants had to provide urine samples showing cocaine abstinence to work and maintain maximum pay. Work-only participants could work independent of their urinalysis results. Abstinence-and-work participants provided more (p  =  .004; OR  =  5.80, 95% CI  =  2.03–16.56) cocaine-negative urine samples (29%) than did work-only participants (10%). Employment-based abstinence reinforcement can increase cocaine abstinence.
PMCID: PMC1986688  PMID: 17970256
contingency management; abstinence reinforcement; cocaine addiction; methadone; drug abuse treatment; employment

Results 1-7 (7)