Vocational status and perceived well‐being of workers with disabilities

Alison M. Konrad (Richard Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario, London, Canada)
Mark E. Moore (Department of Kinesiology, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA)
Alison J. Doherty (School of Kinesiology, University of Western Ontario, London, Canada)
Eddy S.W. Ng (School of Business Administration, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada)
Katherine Breward (Richard Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario, London, Canada)

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

ISSN: 2040-7149

Publication date: 10 February 2012



The purpose of this paper is to examine whether the different employment statuses of under‐employment, temporary employment, unemployment and non‐participation in the labor force are associated with perceived well‐being among persons with disabilities.


The authors used data from the 2006 Participation and Activity Limitation Survey (PALS) conducted by Statistics Canada to develop six categories of employment status. OLS regression analysis was used for hypothesis testing.


Findings indicated that fully utilized permanent employees show the highest level of life satisfaction while unemployed persons searching for work have the lowest levels of life satisfaction and the highest levels of perceived workplace discrimination. Permanent employees whose skills are greatly underutilized show the second‐lowest level of life satisfaction and equally high perceived workplace discrimination as unemployed persons. Non‐participants in the labor force show life satisfaction levels similar to those of permanent moderately underutilized employees as well as temporary employees, but report relatively little workplace discrimination.


The study links vocational status to the psychological well‐being of persons with disabilities in a large representative sample covering the full spectrum of disability types and occupational statuses. As such, it validates conclusions from smaller studies examining single organizations or focusing on workers with specific types of disabilities.



Konrad, A., Moore, M., Doherty, A., Ng, E. and Breward, K. (2012), "Vocational status and perceived well‐being of workers with disabilities", Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Vol. 31 No. 2, pp. 100-123. https://doi.org/10.1108/02610151211202772

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