The Development of Work Self-efficacy in People with Disabilities
AuthorLarson, Alan Bruce
Committee ChairSales, Amos
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe development of work self-efficacy in people with life-long physical disabilities was investigated using qualitative methods. A series of three semi-structured interviews were conducted with a purposive sample of three participants between the ages of 23 and 44. Research participants included two males with cerebral palsy and a female with rheumatoid arthritis. Developmental comparisons were made between the two participants that grew up expecting to go to work as adults and the one participant who did not. All of the participants were working at the time of the interviews. Each of the semi-structured interviews focused on a separate topic: (1) the childhood developmental events that contributed to their becoming adult workers, (2) how these events contributed to their work self-efficacy, and (3) how they described their work self-efficacy. Qualitative analysis of the interview data was guided by Bandura's (1997) social cognitive theory and Lent and Brown's (1996) social cognitive career theory. Results indicate that the mastery experiences of performing household chores, vicarious learning acquired by having working parents as role models, and verbal persuasion in the form of parental encouragement and teacher support all contributed positively to the participants' sense of work self-efficacy. The most common inhibitors of work self-efficacy were parental overprotection, negative school experiences related to being placed in special education, and having people with disabilities as poor role models for working. How the participants cognitively processed developmental experiences also played a role in work self-efficacy development, as they each described actively resisting inhibiting events and readily accepting positive events. A model of work self-efficacy development is proposed that shows that children with disabilities need support for their future work goals in order for the formation of outcome expectations of working as adults. Finally, 12 characteristics of work self-efficacy were identified in the areas of work cognitions (intrinsic rewards, self-confidence, service-orientation, and job-specific knowledge), work behaviors (maintaining a schedule, possessing the physical ability to do essential tasks, possessing required job skills, and ability to meet job performance requirements), and socio-environmental supports (social support from family and loved ones, customer or client positive feedback, coworker support, and supervisor support).