Job satisfaction of Department of Veterans Affairs peer mental health providers

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Quantitative Health Sciences

Publication Date


Document Type



Health Services Research | Industrial and Organizational Psychology | Mental and Social Health | Psychiatry | Psychiatry and Psychology


OBJECTIVES: Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) peer specialists and vocational rehabilitation specialists are Veterans employed in mental health services to help other Veterans with similar histories and experiences. Study objectives were to (a) examine job satisfaction among these employees, (b) compare them to other VA mental health workers, and (c) identify factors associated with job satisfaction across the 3 cohorts.

METHODS: The study sample included 152 VA-employed peer specialists and 222 vocational rehabilitation specialists. A comparison group included 460 VA employees from the same job categories. All participants completed the Job Satisfaction Index (11 aspects and overall satisfaction ratings). Linear regression was used to compare job satisfaction and identify its predictors among the 3 cohorts.

RESULTS: Job satisfaction was fairly high, averaging "somewhat satisfied" to "very satisfied" in 6 (peer specialists) and 9 (vocational rehabilitation specialists) of the 11 aspects and overall job ratings. Adjusting for length of employment, age and gender resulted in no significant group differences with 2 exceptions: White peer specialists were less satisfied with pay and promotion opportunities than vocational rehabilitation specialists and comparison-group employees. Across all cohorts, shorter length of time employed in the job was associated with higher job satisfaction.

CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: The high job satisfaction levels among the 2 peer cohorts suggest support for the policy of hiring peer specialists in the VA. Furthermore, the results are consistent with those of the nonveteran samples, indicating that integrating peer providers into mental health care is possible in VA and non-VA settings.


UMCCTS funding

DOI of Published Version



Psychiatr Rehabil J. 2016 Mar;39(1):47-54. doi: 10.1037/prj0000162. Epub 2015 Sep 28. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Psychiatric rehabilitation journal

PubMed ID


Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed