Employment status and work characteristics among adolescents with disabilities

Disabil Rehabil. 2011;33(10):843-54. doi: 10.3109/09638288.2010.514018. Epub 2010 Aug 30.


Purpose: Little is known about the work experiences of youth as they transition to adulthood. The purpose of this study is to explore the characteristics associated with disabled youth who are employed and the types of employment they are engaged in.

Method: Data were analysed using the 2006 Participation and Activity Limitation Survey. Youth aged 15-29 and 20-24 were selected to explore the characteristics of adolescents who are employed and where they are working (n=2534).

Results: Several differences in who was employed and the characteristics of their employers were noted between the two age groups. Geographic location played a more significant role for employment among youth (15-19 year olds) with mobility impairments compared to other disability types. Employed youth from both age groups had their disability a long time while few people who were recently diagnosed were working. Transportation was a significant predictor of employment for both age groups. Young adults (20-24) worked more hours per week, in different industries, and more of them were self-employed compared to the 15-19 year olds. Employment status and work characteristics also differed by type of disability.

Conclusions: Rehabilitation and life skills counsellors need to pay particular attention to youth who may need extra help in gaining employment.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Cognition Disorders / epidemiology
  • Communication
  • Disabled Children / rehabilitation*
  • Disabled Children / statistics & numerical data
  • Employment*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Persons With Hearing Impairments / rehabilitation
  • Visually Impaired Persons / rehabilitation
  • Young Adult