Date of Award

5-2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Industrial and Organizational Psychology

Advisor

Mary-Anne Taylor

Committee Member

Jennifer Bisson

Committee Member

DeWayne Moore

Committee Member

Fred Switzer

Abstract

Human Capital Theory was used as a means to formulate predictions regarding the placement rates for disabled and non-disabled individuals who participated in job training programs at a non-profit agency in the Southeast. Research suggesting that disabilities are viewed as an economic liability by employers was reviewed, along with empirically based rejoinders to this stereotype. The first goal of this study was to address flaws in the existing categorization systems of disabilities, and to justify a categorization system that was more detailed than the typical psychological/physical disability distinction in the I/O and vocational rehabilitation literature (e.g., Ren, Paetzold, and Colella, 2008). As a second goal of the study, we examined differences in job placement rates using disability status (disabled/non-disabled) and job training as predictors. As a third goal we used our alternative category system of disabilities to examine differences in placement rates as a function of disability type. First, a functional category of disabilities was formed based on theoretical and empirical research in the fields of Vocational Rehabilitation and psychology. Next, we performed a series of logistic regression utilizing our field sample of 362 clients with disabilities and 2153 without disabilities who participated in job placement services at the agency. Our findings revealed that the negative impact of disability status was partially moderated by job training. In fact, clients with disabilities were more likely to find employment than clients without disabilities if they attended two or more types of training. Differences as a function of disability type were negligible. Implications for the use of the functionally based system of disabilities are discussed, along with limitations of the current study.

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