Dr. Vidya Sundar, Assistant Professor in Occupational Therapy, and Dr. Debra Brucker, Research Assistant Professor at the Institute on Disability, will partner with Northeast Rehabilitation Hospital Network, Marsh Brook Rehab and the UNH Office of Environmental Health and Safety to develop and test a new approach to assisting persons with disabilities to retain employment and seek opportunities for growth in the workplace.
Simply addressing workplace and disability-related barriers through disability management programs or provision of workplace accommodations does not propel individuals with disabilities towards higher career goals or longer job tenure.
The overarching goal of this project is to improve job retention and facilitate job growth among people with physical and mild cognitive disabilities through the use of career self-management strategies.
We will conduct a mixed methods study to develop and test a career self-management intervention based on job crafting. Job crafting is an informal, idiosyncratic, strengths-based approach where employees are constantly redefining and renegotiating their daily job tasks. Job crafting includes modifying the physical (how and where the task is performed), cognitive (meaning attached to the job task), and relational (social interactions) boundaries inherent in the job task. Job crafting has not been tested among people with disabilities, thus far. Our study participants will include employees aged 18-64 who have a physical or mild cognitive disability who are participating in a rehabilitation program.
We will (1) develop and test the efficacy of a career self-management intervention through job crafting and (2) examine the impact of job crafting behaviors on occupational self-efficacy and work engagement. Anticipated outcomes for study participants include (1) improved occupational self-efficacy and work engagement and (2) an understanding of how the job crafting approach can be used over the long-term to problem-solve barriers and to seize opportunities for career growth.
We will share our results via presentations and peer-reviewed manuscripts. We will also develop a prototype of a job crafting intervention for use with people with disabilities.
Research Associate Professor