Article Details

Research Database: Article Details

Citation:  Gray, D.B., Morgan, K.A., Gottlieb, M., & Hollingsworth, H. H. (2014). Person factors and work environments of workers who use mobility devices. Work, 48 349-359.
Title:  Person factors and work environments of workers who use mobility devices
Authors:  Gray, D.B., Morgan, K.A., Gottlieb, M., & Hollingsworth, H. H.
Year:  2014
Journal/Publication:  Work
Publisher:  IOS Press
Full text:   
Peer-reviewed?  Yes
NIDILRR-funded?  Yes

Structured abstract:

Background:  Individuals with various medical conditions must use different types of personal mobility devices. However, little in known about what is used, especially among people with mobility limitations that are employed. Understanding personal characteristics associated with employees with mobility limitations and work environments may help reduce unemployment rates for this specific group.
Purpose:  The goal of the study was to describe factors that contribute to the success of employees who use mobility devices.
Study sample:  The sample included 132 people with mobility impairments or limitations. The criteria for inclusion in the study was: employed at the same job, working at least 20 hours a week, for at least two years, age 18 years or older, able to read at or above a 6th grade level and had used a mobility device for one year or longer. Individuals who worked in sheltered work shops or who had a job coach were not included. The mean age of participants was 46.3 years. The majority were white, married women with a college degree, who lived with family and had household incomes exceeding $35,000 per year. The majority or 81.8% reported their health status as goo, very good, or excellent. Related to mobility impairment the top two types were Spinal Cord Injury (34.8%) and (22%).
Intervention:  There was no intervention.
Control or comparison condition:  There was no control or comparison condition.
Data collection and analysis:  Participants were asked to complete the Mobility Device User Work Survey. The survey is made up of 164 questions. Respondents provide demographic and general work and information. Then they rate work conditions, tasks, communication, support, concerns and satisfaction using four point Likert scales. The survey was programmed into a web based format so it could be administered on-line. The survey data was analyzed using SPSS. Descriptive statistics were used. Multivariate analysis of variance and linear regression were also employed.
Findings:  The researchers reported on the ways individuals acquired employment. This was facilitated by family or social networks, vocational services and education. Physical features of the workplace were accessible. Expensive assistive technology was purchased by the worker and insurance. Personal assistance n the workplace was provided by family, friends or coworkers. Those reporting high satisfaction with work attributed this to supportive employer and coworkers and flexible polices.
Conclusions:  People who use mobility devices can work. Studying successfully employed people with mobility impairments can help determine possible ways to overcome barriers to work. More research is needed.

Disabilities served:  Cerebral palsy
Mobility impairment
Muscular dystrophy
Spinal cord injury (SCI)
Populations served:  Gender: Female and Male
Race: Black / African American
Race: White / Caucasian
Outcomes:  Employment acquisition