Erlend Marius Aas

Phd Candidate

Academic interests

  • Vocational rehebilitation

  • Substance use and addiction

  • Treatment method reseach

  • Mixed methods

From Addiction to Employment

Patients with substance use and addiction disorders (SUD) are largely unemployed. At the same time, work represents a number of health-promoting conditions, such as social integration, a drug-free network, structure in everyday life, meaningful activity, belonging and the development of abilities and skills. Employment is also associated with better outcome of substance use treatment, and employment protects against relapse after treatment completion. Unfortunately, evidence-based vocational methods are lacking in the substance use treatment field, but knowledge can be drawn from adjacent health disciplines.

Individual Placement and Support (IPS) is an evidence-based method designed to help persons with severe mental disorders obtain and keep competitive employment. The method is based on eight principles, including focus on competitive work, integration of vocational and clinical services in the same team, and rapid job search. The content of the IPS service is clearly defined and highly structured. A 25-item fidelity scale is used to evaluate the quality of the service, with cut-offs for accepted, high and very high quality. IPS has been proven effective across a variety of settings and economic conditions, and is more than twice as likely to lead to competitive employment as traditional vocational rehabilitation methods.

We want to know if the IPS method can be equally useful for persons with SUDs.

From Addiction to Employment is a large multi study project initiated by section for clinical addiction research (RusForsk) at Oslo University Hospital (OUH). The project aims to both evaluate the feasibility of the vocational rehabilitation method Individual Placement and Support (IPS) in a substance use population, and to measure the effect of the IPS intervention for patients in SUD treatment. The From Addiction to Employment study consists of an RCT study, an observational study, and a qualitative study.

The scope of this PhD project extends to both the RCT study and the qualitative study, and will contribute to the main projects research goals. At least three papers will be written and submitted to international peer reviewed journals, according to the following plan:

  1. A paper on qualitative data. This paper will focus on hindering and facilitating factors for employment for this patient group, and on how the IPS method fits with the need of the patients.

  2. A paper about change in the secondary non-work outcome measures related to substance use, mental health and quality of life, from the time of inclusion and at 6 and 12 months follow up.

  3. A paper based on 18 months main- and secondary work related outcomes of the RCT.


Main supervisor: Eline Borger Rognli (PhD) – researcher at RusForsk, OUS.

Co-supervisor: Professor Silje Endresen Reme - associate professor at the Institute of Psychology, UIO.

Co-supervisor: Dr. Ingrid Amalia Havnes (MD-PhD) – researcher at the National Centre of Competence for Addiction Treatment, OUH.


The PhD project is fully funded for the whole period by the South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority.


  • MS in sociology at the University of Oslo in 2013.

  • Employed as a project coordinator in the “From Addiction to Employment” project at RusForsk in 2019.

  • Five years’ experience as a job counselor and course leader in vocational training.

  • Experience within journalism and communications

Tags: Work and organisational psychology, Substance abuse, Methods

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Published Nov. 17, 2021 2:54 PM - Last modified Nov. 17, 2021 2:54 PM

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