Institute on Disability


Variations in social capital among vocational rehabilitation applicants


BACKGROUND: In general, people with disabilities have lower levels of social capital, a measure of the quality of social relations, than people without disabilities. People with disabilities who participate in the labor force, however, have been found to have higher levels of social capital than their peers who do not participate in the labor force. OBJECTIVE: Using newly available data from the Survey of Disability and Employment (SDE), this study examined perceived social capital as it relates to supporting employment among applicants for state vocational rehabilitation (VR) services in three states: Mississippi, New Jersey, and Ohio. METHODS: We used multivariate analysis to compare differences in levels of perceived (i.e. cognitive) social capital between applicants who were employed and applicants who were not employed, by disability severity, age at disability onset, health status, and individual characteristics. RESULTS: VR applicants were more likely to benefit from social capital in their working lives if they reported currently working, less severe disability, and better perceived health. CONCLUSIONS: VR counselors must recognize that persons applying for VR services vary greatly in their access to the social supports that are closely associated with employment.

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Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation


IOS Press

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