Disability Phenotypes and Job Accommodations Utilization Among People with Physical Disability

Han Su*, Jasin Wong, Angelika Kudla, Mirang Park, Robert Trierweiler, Pamela Capraro, Deborah Crown, Nnaemezie Ezeife, Stephanie Tomazin, Elizabeth G.S. Munsell, Allen W. Heinemann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose People with disabilities (PWD) are less likely to be employed than those without disabilities. Reasonable job accommodations are an essential factor for ensuring equal access to jobs for PWD. However, use of job accommodation is less than optimal among PWD with various types of disabilities. Sometimes, PWD have co-occurring impairments, which might affect accommodation use. This research aimed to explore disability phenotypes, frequently used accommodations, and employee- and job-related factors associated with the extent of job accommodation use. Methods A cross-sectional online survey of PWD was conducted in the Midwest region of the United States. Latent class analyses were used to identify disability phenotypes. Descriptive analysis and stepwise Poisson regression were used to identify factors associated with job accommodation use. Results A total of 326 PWD with work experience after acquiring a disability were included in this analysis. We identified three disability phenotypes: (1) Severe disability in cognitive, physical, emotional, communication and visual domains (32%), (2) Moderate cognitive and low physical disability (48%), and (3) High physical disability phenotypes (20%). 80% of PWD received at least one accommodation. Flexible working schedules, telework, and access to a support person in the workplace were the most common accommodations. Employee- (age, disability phenotypes, motor function) and job-related factors (job preparation, self-employment) are associated dependently with accommodation use. Conclusion This analysis identifies three disability phenotypes and highlights both employee- and job-related factors associated with accommodations used. It may be beneficial to consider multiple contextual factors, including co-occurring disability, employee- and job-related factors, when assisting people with job accommodations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Occupational Rehabilitation
StateAccepted/In press - 2022


  • Disabilities
  • Employment
  • Job accommodation
  • Return to work
  • Vocational rehabilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Occupational Therapy


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