Mental Cognitive Demands

Prepared by Summit Consulting in collaboration with the University of Massachusetts Commonwealth Medicine, University of New Hampshire, and American Institutes for Research. Submitted to The Social Security Administration (SSA), Office of Retirement and Disability Policy (ORDP) and Office of Disability Policy (ODP). Contract No. 28321318A00040029/28321318FA0011262

Role of home and community environment in recovery following arthroplasty: A mixed methods study

Project Personel: Brittany Sampson and Vidya Sundar

This study examined the role of home and community environments in recovery from hip or knee joint arthroplasty among adults.

We used a mixed methods study design that included face-to-face interviews using the Arthritis Impact Measurement Scales 2 (AIMS2) , the Home and Community Environment Survey (HACE), and semi-structured interview questions. Mann-Whitney U test and T-tests were used to examine the role of participants’ home and community environments in post-surgical recovery.

Recovery was positively correlated with social support and assistive technology and negatively correlated with home barriers. No significant correlation was found between recovery and community environment. Emerging qualitative themes included pain, complicating factors in recovery, physical and social environment, and recovery through occupation.

The home environment including assistive technology plays an important role in recovery after arthroplasty. Recovery is experienced through everyday occupations but can be complicated by the persistence of pain and co-morbid conditions. 

Community and Social Participation Among Adults with Mobility Impairments: A Mixed Methods Study

Project Personel: Vidya Sundar, Debra Brucker, Megan Pollack and Hong Chang

Community and social participation is a complex phenomenon that is influenced by personal and environmental factors and is linked to a good quality of life and well-being. Individuals with mobility impairments are at risk of experiencing limitations in participating in community activities due to a wide range of factors.

To understand community participation as defined by adults with mobility impairments and to examine relationships among factors that influence community participation. 

A mixed-methods study design was used. In-depth interviews of 13 adults with mobility impairments were conducted and themes related to community participation were identified. Data from the Americans' Changing Lives Survey were used to construct variables that mimic the themes from the qualitative phase and structural equation modeling was used to examine the relationships among those variables including community participation.

Individuals with mobility impairments identified health and function, neighborhood factors and self-efficacy as possible factors influencing participation in community activities. Findings from the SEM suggest a strong causal pathway between health and function and community and social participation. Neighborhood factors and health and function had a significant impact on self-efficacy, and a possible indirect effect through self-efficacy on community and social participation.

Our study provides new empirical evidence that health and function have a significant impact on community and social participation. Our quantitative findings did not support the direct influence of neighborhood factors in community and social participation, yet these factors may have an indirect role by influencing the self-efficacy of individuals with mobility impairments.

Volunteering: A scoping review

Project Personnel: Elizabeth Crepeau, Vidya Sundar

Volunteering is a meaningful occupation for individuals across the life course.  The knowledge base of volunteering within the fields of occupational therapy (OT) and occupational science (OS) is sparse and underdeveloped. The purpose of this paper is to conduct a scoping review of published and grey literature on volunteering within OT and OS literature published between 1947 through 2015.  Our scoping review included 11 articles categorized under three major themes: volunteering as an occupation, volunteering as an intervention, and coordinating volunteer experiences for clients and community members. Many articles lacked a clear definition of volunteering and some used the term volunteering to describe service learning or assigned activities. There is insufficient empirical research to articulate an understanding of volunteering as an occupation.

“Today I felt like my work meant something”: A pilot study on job crafting, a coaching based intervention for people with disabilities.

Project Personnel: Vidya Sundar, Debra L. Brucker

The purpose of this study is to conduct a pilot study to test the effectiveness of job crafting as an Occupational Therapy (OT) intervention strategy for individuals with disabilities. Job crafting is a proactive, strengths-based, bottom-up approach where clients renegotiate and redefine their job tasks in a personally meaningful way. A mixed-methods study (n=11) was conducted with workers who experience disabilities. OT graduate students conducted in-depth interviews and facilitated the use of job crafting to improve work related outcomes. Pre-and post-intervention data was analyzed using descriptive statistics and Wilcoxon signed-rank tests. Qualitative data was transcribed, coded, and synthesized. The job crafting intervention improved work-related self-efficacy (p<.05) and crafting behaviors (p<.05) in the work place. Participants accomplished goals to manage their work limitations, meet job demands, and other non-disability related challenges.

Personal and Organizational Determinants of Job Satisfaction for Workers With Disabilities

Project  Personel: Vidya Sundar PhD, OTR/L, Debra L. Brucker, PhD

Although persons with disabilities are underrepresented in the workforce, a substantial portion of adults with disabilities do work. Job satisfaction, an important predictor of productivity, job tenure, and absenteeism, may be influenced by a unique set of personal and organizational factors for persons with disabilities. Using data from the 2015 Kessler Foundation National Employment and Disability Survey (KFNEDS), we examine personal and organizational predictors of job satisfaction for American workers with disabilities. Findings from the study suggest that educational attainment, perceived pay disparities, and supervisor attitudes are associated with job satisfaction for workers with disabilities. Coworker attitudes were not associated with job satisfaction for this population.

2015 Kessler Foundation National Disability and Employment Survey

 The 2015 Kessler Foundation National Employment and Disability Survey is a nationally respresentative survey of more than 3,000 people with disabilities. According to this survey, 69% of people with disabilities are striving to work and overcoming barriers to the workplace. Striving to work encompasses a spectrum of work-related activities, including actively preparing for employment,searching for jobs, having a job, and looking for more hours. Importantly, Americans with disabilities are also overcoming barriers to employment, such as not enough education or training, employers assuming that they cannot do the job, lack of transportation, and family discouragement. Findings can inform program and policies that support employment outcomes for people with disabilities. For more information, see Executive Summary of the 2015 KFNEDS.