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Career Barriers and Supports for Individuals with Physical Disabilities Empirical

Faculty Mentor: Jason Dahling

Student: Rachel Tenenbaum

In this study, we examined the relationship between disability onset, disability severity, and participants’ levels of vocational confidence.  In particular, we looked at their degree of confidence in completing activities that were Realistic (such as making repairs), Investigative (such as solving math problems), Artistic (such as writing a poem), Social (such as helping others who are upset), Enterprising (such as managing a sales campaign), and Conventional (such as keeping records of sales).  After collecting data from participants using Amazon Mechanical Turk, we found that age of disability onset moderated the relationship between disability severity and confidence in the Realistic, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional vocational domains.  Specifically, disability severity had a strong negative impact on the confidence of individuals whose disabilities manifested later in life, while the relationship between disability severity and confidence was not significant for participants who were disabled in early childhood. These results cause us to believe that individuals with a later age of onset may lose confidence in their abilities after becoming disabled.   Individuals with early onset disabilities do not experience the same loss of confidence, because they have lived with their disabilities for most (if not all) of their lives.

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