Professional Online Testing Solutions, Inc.
Employment Barriers (EB)


Various economic and philosophical models and theories have been set forth in attempts to explain the causes, consequences, and solutions to the issue of unemployment. What most agree on is that the repercussions of unemployment are varied and far-reaching: Unemployed individuals are not able to earn money to provide food, housing, or meet financial obligations are damaging costs to families and society. In fact, unemployment also increases mental stress, and can play a role in substance abuse, loss of self-esteem and other emotional and mental health problems.

Unemployment is, generally, defined as occurring when an individual is actively seeking work for at least four weeks, but is still not employed. Many countries, including the United States, are currently experiencing high unemployment rates. The struggling economy puts hard-to-employ individuals at an even greater disadvantage. Some unemployed individuals who are at a disadvantage in the job market, can benefit from early detection of employment barriers and prompt intervention, which increases the likelihood of their becoming and remaining employed. These clients may have impaired self-esteem, unmanaged/mismanaged stress, work-related attitude/motivational problems, substance use disorders, or other challenges that lower their odds of gaining successful employment. An accurate and meaningful assessment instrument is key to proper identification of employment barriers. Identification of occupational barriers is a prerequisite to positive change, and for developing effective courses of action.

Employment Barriers (EB) is an assessment, or test, developed to allow professionals, working with hard-to-employ individuals, to pinpoint barriers to employment, while classifying their employment barriers (problems) in terms of their severity. Employment Barriers (EB), concurrently, measures multiple barriers to employment, which facilitates referral to appropriate counseling/intervention, or treatment programs. The EB test and its six scales are described below.

Employment Barriers

Employment Barriers (EB) is a 116-item, self-report test that is written at a low sixth grade reading level. The EB test can be completed in 25 minutes. EB answer sheets are computer-scored, with typed reports available on-site, within 2 ½ minutes of data entry. The Employment Barriers (EB) facilitates early employment problem identification, which speeds up problem intervention, remediation, and help. EB scales represent the test’s areas of inquiry. The six Employment Barriers (EB) scales include: Degree of Confidence Scale, Work Orientation Scale, Self-Esteem Scale, Alcohol Scale, Drug Scale, and the Stress Management Scale. Additional Employment Barriers (EB) information and research is set forth on and on and on The Employment Barriers (EB) assessment can be administered in two ways: on Windows diskettes or USB flash drive (, or over the internet ( This enables test users to select the test modality that best meets their needs.

Six (6) Employment Barriers Scales (Measures)

1. Degree of Confidence Scale: Measures how truthful the client was while completing the Employment Barriers (EB) test. This scale identifies and measures the severity of denial, problem minimization, and attempts to “look good.” The Degree of Confidence Scale determines the trustworthiness, dependability, honesty, or truthfulness of the client while they completed the EB. It would be naïve to think that everybody completing a self-report is truthful. The Degree of Confidence Scale is similar to the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) L, F and K-scale methodology. Evaluators can be confident in using EB reports, because they know when the client was truthful while completing the Employment Barriers (EB).

When the Degree of Confidence Scale is at or below the 89th percentile, all EB scale scores are accurate. In contrast, when a Degree of Confidence Scale score is at or above the 90th percentile, all EB scale scores are inaccurate, due to client denial, problem minimization, and attempts to “fake good.” A rule of thumb is, the higher the Degree of Confidence Scale score, the more defensive and guarded the client.

2. Work Orientation Scale: Measures the client’s work-related attitude, mind-set, and motivation to work. To a large extent, these factors influence job application outcomes and, when hired, the period of time employed. For example, how does a person perceive, value, or accept work? Child care, transportation, expenses, clothes, familial emotional support (or the lack thereof) can all influence a person’s commitment to work.

The problem threshold for the Work Orientation Scale is the 70th percentile. Work Orientation Scale scores, in the 70th to 89th percentile, are indicative of problems. Interventions might range from talking with the client, showing a sincere interest in their well-being, and providing emotional support of endeavor. Clients scoring at or above the 90th percentile often benefit from group counseling with peers. Co-occurring disorders often complicate the client’s counseling and/or treatment needs, particularly if they involve substance (alcohol and other drugs) use or abuse. It would be a mistake to underestimate the importance of work attitudes, when identifying barriers to employment.

3. Self-Esteem Scale: Reflects a person’s explicit valuing and appraisal of self. Self-Esteem incorporates an attitude of acceptance-approval versus rejection-disapproval of self. Self-Esteem is a person’s perception of himself, or herself. Self-Esteem refers to recognition of one’s personal abilities and achievements, together with acknowledgment and acceptance of personal limitations. Self-Esteem reflects feelings of self-worth or the lack thereof.

An elevated (70th to 89th percentile) Self-Esteem Scale score indicates a self-rejection disapproving attitude. Such a client has a poor or negative attitude toward self. A severe problem (90th to 100th percentile) Self-Esteem Scale score reflects extreme self-alienation. As with all Employment Barriers (EB) scales - the higher the score, the more problematic or severe the problem. A concurrently, elevated, Alcohol Scale and/or Drug Scale score is a malignant sign. With an alcohol and/or drug abuse overlaying impaired self-esteem, the question becomes: “Where to begin?” Many clinicians would stabilize the substance abuse, hoping that as the client comes to terms with their substance abuse, their self-esteem will also improve.

4. Alcohol Scale: Measures alcohol use and the severity of abuse. Alcohol refers to beer, wine, and other liquors. It is a legal or licit substance. Alcohol is, all too often, associated with absenteeism and work-related injuries. Alcohol Scale scores at or below the 69th percentile are, invariably, not problematic. The alcohol problem threshold is the 70th percentile. Alcohol Scale scores in the 70th to 89th percentile are indicative of drinking problems. Also, an elevated (70th percentile or higher) Alcohol Scale score, in conjunction with other elevated EB scale scores, magnifies or exacerbates the severity of the areas of concern, represented by co-occurring elevated scale scores.

In situations in which the Alcohol Scale and Drug Scale scores are both elevated, the higher scale scores represent the client’s substance of choice. And, when both the Alcohol Scale and Drugs Scale score are in the severe problem (90th to 100th percentile) range, explore polysubstance abuse. To prevent miscategorization of “recovering” alcoholics, a “recovering” question (item #112) has been incorporated into the EB. The client’s response to the “recovering” question is printed in the Alcohol Scale "significant items" section, of the EB report.

In assessment, intervention and treatment settings, the client’s Alcohol Scale score often helps staff work through client denial. Most people accept the objective, and standardized Alcohol Scale score as accurate and relevant, in comparison to a person’s subjective opinion. This is particularly true, when it is explained that elevated scores do not occur by chance. Indeed, the client must answer a definitive pattern of alcohol-related admissions, for an elevated scale score to occur. And, scale scores are based upon thousands of clients’ Alcohol Scale scores.

5. Drug Scale: Measures drug use and the severity of abuse. The Drug Scale is independent of the Alcohol Scale. Drugs refer to marijuana, crack, ice, cocaine, amphetamines, barbiturates, ecstasy, heroin, etc. This scale also incorporates prescription drug abuse. Polysubstance abuse is also detected. To ensure that ‘recovering’ drug abusers are not misidentified as drug abusers, the ‘recovering’ question (item # 112) has been included in the EB. The client’s answer to the ‘recovering’ question is presented in the Drug Scale "significant items" section, in the EB report.

Drug Scale scores at or below the 69th percentile are not problematic. The drug problem threshold is at the 70th percentile. Drug Scale scores in the 70th to 89th percentile range are indicative of drug problems. In contrast, Drug Scale scores in the severe problem (90th to 100th percentile) range identify established and severe drug abuse problems. An elevated (70th percentile or higher) range Drug Scale score identifies severe, established, drug abuse problems. An elevated (70th percentile or higher) Drug Scale score, in conjunction with other elevated EB scale scores, exacerbates or magnifies the severity of the co-occurring disorders. Experienced staff members, usually, agree that drug use has become a major employment barrier for many vocationally-challenged individuals.

6. Stress Management Scale: Measures how effectively people handle or manage the stress (pressure, anxiety) experienced in their lives. Poor stress management is often identified as an alcohol and/or drugs trigger. It also has been linked to a variety of mental, emotional and behavioral disorders.

The Stress Management Scale does not simply recognize or measure experienced stress. This scale measures how well the individual manages or copes with stress. Two people can be in the same stressful situation, and one person might handle or manage the stress well, whereas the other person might be overwhelmed by the stress. Stress management strategies and techniques are learned. That is why people with poorly-learned or impaired stress management skills, are often referred to stress management classes. People with extremely impaired stress management skills, might be referred to group counseling sessions that incorporate stress management methodologies.

Stress Management Scale scores in the zero to 69th percentile range reflect average to good stress management skills. Stress Management Scale scorers, in the problematic (70th to 89th percentile) range, are usually referred to stress management classes. And, people who score in the severe problem (90th to 100th percentile) range are usually referred to group therapy sessions that incorporate stress management strategies and techniques. When other EB scale scores are elevated (70th percentile or higher) their treatment usually incorporates stress management.

Employment Barriers (EB) identifies employment problems that are known as employment barriers. Early problem identification enables prompt intervention and problem reduction, which increases the probability of successful job placement and subsequent employment. The Employment Barriers (EB) report provides valuable information regarding a client’s specific occupational barriers. Ongoing research and continued standardization of the EB ensures that the EB will remain a valuable and accurate tool for employment barriers assessment.

The nominal Employment Barriers (EB) test unit fee, which includes a multitude of complimentary test-related services, is $9.95 per test. EB test booklets, manuals, staff training at our Phoenix offices, ongoing database research, online chat, Human Voice Audio for reading impaired clients, and annual EB summary reports (testing program summaries that incorporate demographic information as well as EB test statistics) are a few examples of the free services utilized by EB test users. Our support staff is available during normal business hours by telephone, 1(800) 231-2401 and email:, or

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