Experiential aspects of employment and their relationship with work outcomes: a cross-sectional study using a novel measure of participation in workers with and without physical disabilities
Background: People with disabilities often report restrictions to employment participation. Recent theorising emphasises the need for broadened conceptualisations of participation, incorporating subjective participation experiences. Objective: To examine relationships between subjective, experiential aspects of employment participation and work-specific outcomes in adults with and without physical disabilities. Methods: Using a cross-sectional study design, 1624 working Canadian adults with and without physical disabilities completed (a) the recently-developed Measure of Experiential Aspects of Participation (MeEAP) to assess six experiential aspects of employment participation: autonomy, belongingness, challenge, engagement, mastery and meaning and (b) work-outcome measures of perceived work stress, productivity loss, health-related job disruptions and absenteeism. Forced entry multivariable regression analyses were conducted. Results: Among respondents with and without disabilities, greater autonomy and mastery were associated with less work stress (ps < .03); greater belongingness was associated with less productivity loss (p < .0001). Greater engagement was associated with fewer job disruptions (p = .02) but only for respondents with physical and non-physical disability. This sub-group scored lower on all experiential aspects of participation than workers with no disability or physicaldisability only (ps < .05). Conclusions: Results provide some support for the hypothesis that people with more positive employment participation experiences also report better work outcomes. The concept and measurement of experiential aspects of participation have value for advancing understanding of factors related to employment outcomes in workers with disabilities. Research is needed to determine how positive participation experiences manifest in workplace settings, and antecedents and consequences of positive and negative employment participation experiences.