The effects of disability on employment patterns among older workers

TitleThe effects of disability on employment patterns among older workers
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsHwang, JHee
AdvisorKosciulek, J
Number of Pages135
Date Published2010
UniversityMichigan State University
CityEast Lansing, Michigan
Thesis TypeDissertation
KeywordsDisabilities, Employment and Labor Force, Health Conditions and Status, Healthcare, Retirement Planning and Satisfaction

Given the substantial number of individuals with disabilities and the sheer rapid growth of U.S. aging population, research on labor transition among older people with disability is vital for improving quality of life for society in general, as well as people with disabilities. Nonetheless, there has been a lack of research on labor transition and older individuals with disabilities in the literature. To reduce and further eliminate labor transition among older people with disabilities, as well as to provide effective interventions and policies for eliminating, it is imperative to investigate the existence of labor transition of older workers and elucidate mechanisms in which labor transition occur. The purpose of this study was to investigate the prevalence of late onset disability among older workers, the consequences for their acquired disability on employment patterns, and the determining factors affecting later-life employment transitions. Given a lack of research employing a national data set for employment and older workers with disabilities, this study examined older people aged 50 and over and used the object measures for define a disability. This study was tested chi-square, ANOVA test, binary and multinomial logistic regression. As an ex post facto design, this study employed the Health and Retirement Study data. Of the total 10,890 age-eligible (age over 50) full time workers who reported thoroughly free of disability (healthy) at the time of baseline interview, the final sampling consisted of 1,096 older workers reported functional or mental disability two years later. 506 male (46.2%) and 590 female (53.8%) reported that they are experiencing disabilities. It is about 10.1% prevalence of an acquired disability among full time older workers. Surprisingly, the prevalence of mental disability was 7.3% and the prevalence of functional disability was 2.7% among older labor force participation. Findings for descriptive results show that about 62.4% workers still kept their full time job even though older workers experienced some types of disabilities. Older workers at older ages were much more likely to change their job to a par-time or quit their job than younger workers. Older workers with mental disability consistently have a better chance of being employed and sustaining their full time job than older workers with functional disability. The findings also confirm that older workers with high levels of education, those who are white, those are female and those in white collar occupations seem to more likely continue their full time job Chi-square tests, independent t-test, and ANOVA found that significant differences existed in age, the level of education, type of disability, self employed status, current occupation, industry, and financial factors (earnings, household net assets, and Social Security Retirement Income) between older individuals who kept their job and who quit their full time job. The binary logistic regression and multinomial logistic results support that gender, high level of education, mental disability, self employed status, white collar occupation and white collar related industry, and not depending on social security retirement pension were independently associated with employed older workers. Implications for rehabilitation counselor practice, education and future research are discussed.


ISBN: 9781124338187

Endnote Keywords

Vocational education

Endnote ID


Short TitleThe effects of disability on employment patterns among older workers
Citation Key6347