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New Paper released on Individual Characteristics and Employment Outcomes among People with Disabilities

by User Not Found | Oct 04, 2013

Individual Characteristics and Employment Outcomes among People with Disabilities: A Critical Review of the Literature

Purvi Sevak, Hunter College; John O’Neill, Kessler Foundation; Tamar Martin, Hunter College; Dave Vandergoot, CEMS; Hal Grossman, Hunter College 


We present a critical overview of the recent literature on employment outcomes of individuals with disabilities and how they vary based on individual characteristics. Our review follows the social model of disability which posits that outcomes depend on three domains: health, personal characteristics, and environmental characteristics. We document the extent to which studies meet features of an “ideal research design” given the social model of disability. We find that despite a wealth of research on employment outcomes among individuals with disabilities, only a small minority of these studies estimates the relationship between individual characteristics and employment while controlling for other factors that also effect employment, making it difficult to draw causal inference from the magnitude of the estimated effects. Most studies are also focused on a narrowly defined disability population, making it difficult to generalize findings to the larger population or draw comparisons across studies. Our review concludes with critical recommendations for future research and data collection in this area.

This research was supported by the Individual Characteristics Rehabilitation Research and Training Center with funding by the U.S. Department of Education, National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (H133B12005). The contents of this report do not necessarily represent the views of NIDRR or the U.S. Department of Education.

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