Impact of a brief intervention to improve engagement in a recovery program for young adults with serious mental illness

Michelle R. Munson, James Jaccard, Kiara L. Moore, Aaron H. Rodwin, Rei Shimizu, Andrea R. Cole, Lionel D. Scott, Sarah C. Narendorf, Maryann Davis, Todd Gilmer, Victoria Stanhope

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Serious mental illnesses (SMI) commonly emerge during young adulthood. Effective treatments for this population exist; however, engagement in treatment is a persistent challenge. This study examines the impact of Just Do You (JDY), an innovative intake-focused intervention designed to improve engagement in treatment and enhance personal recovery. Methods: The study used a parallel group randomized trial to examine if and how JDY improved recovery among 121 young adults with SMI from low-resourced communities referred to personalized recovery-oriented services (PROS). Measures of engagement (buy-in and attendance) and personal recovery in this pilot study were assessed at baseline and 3-month follow-up. Results: Participants in JDY reported more positive engagement outcomes; that is, relative to the control group they reported higher past two week attendance (b = 0.72, p < 0.05, Cohen's d = 0.56) and higher levels of buy-in to treatment (b = 2.42, p < 0.05, Cohen's d = 0.50). JDY also impacted young adults' personal recovery (b = 0.99, p < 0.05, Cohen's d = 1.15) and did so largely by increasing their level of buy-in to the treatment program. Conclusion: This study suggests that an engagement intervention for young adults that orients, prepares, and empowers them to be active and involved in the larger treatment program makes a difference by improving engagement and enhancing recovery. Data also support conceptualizing and examining engagement beyond treatment attendance; in this study what mattered most for recovery was the level of buy-in to treatment among young adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)104-111
Number of pages8
JournalSchizophrenia Research
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Attendance
  • Buy-in
  • Engagement
  • Randomized trial
  • Rehabilitation
  • Schizophrenia
  • Treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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