Recent research suggests that counselors, employers, and the general public’s perception of types of disabilities leads to higher rates of stigma. This places specific disability groups at increased risk for low employment.
This study revealed that the most significant predictor of employment outcome for those receiving vocational rehabilitation (VR) services within the U.S. state-federal system was disability type (physical vs. mental), and that the most significant factor for those with mental disabilities was specific type of disability. This is consistent with research suggesting that low employment outcomes are linked to levels of stigmatization of disability groups.
Specific services provided through the U.S. state-federal VR system were found to be statistically significant in increasing the likelihood that those with the most highly stigmatized disabilities would obtain competitive employment. These services are:
- Job Placement Assistance
Referral to a specific job that results in an interview
- Substantial Counseling and Guidance
Individually distinct from general counseling and including personal adjustment counseling; medical, family, or social issues counseling, vocational counseling; and other counseling as required
- College or University Training
Academic training above the high school level that leads to a degree
- Occupational/Vocational Training
Occupational, vocational, or job skill training in a recognized occupation with no academic certification or degree obtained
Increasing personal awareness of stigmatizing attitudes and what VR services work best for unique consumers could increase employment outcomes for those in groups at high risk for low employment.
Chan, J.Y.C., Keegan, J., Ditchman, N., Gonzalez, R., Zheng, L. X., & Chan, F. (2011). Stigmatizing attribution and vocational rehabilitation outcomes of people with disabilities. Rehabilitation Research, Policy, and Education, 25(4), 135-148.
Source: Chan, J.Y.C., Keegan, J., Ditchman, N., Gonzalez, R., Zheng, L. X., & Chan, F. (2011). Stigmatizing attribution and vocational rehabilitation outcomes of people with disabilities. Rehabilitation Research, Policy, and Education, 25(4), 135-148.
Objective: To determine whether employment outcomes of people with disabilities can be predicted by the social-cognitive/attribution theory of stigmatization.
Design: Ex post facto design using data mining technique and logistic regression analysis. Participants: Data from 40,585 vocational rehabilitation (VR) consumers were extracted from the Rehabilitation Services Administration Case Services Report (Form 911).
Results: In Study 1, data mining results revealed that the most significant predictor of employment outcome was type of disability. Consistent with the social-cognitive/attribution theory of stigmatization, the employment rate of people with physical disabilities (68.5%) was found to be significantly higher than that of people with mental disabilities (56.6%). In Study 2, results from logistic regression analyses indicated that VR services could improve outcomes for subpopulations of people with disabilities with low employment rates.
Conclusion: Employment outcomes of VR consumers were found to match the hierarchy of attitudes toward disability predicted by the social-cognitive/attribution theory. However, even with subpopulations with the lowest employment rates, VR services were found to improve employment outcomes.