Research on Employment Supports for People with Disabilities: Summary of the Focus Group Findings. Characteristics by Impairment

09/01/2001

Participant characteristics by primary reason for impairment are shown in Exhibit 3. Of the five impairment categories, four were predominantly composed of men: cognitive (57 percent), mental illness (61 percent), mobility (52 percent), and other chronic impairments (52 percent). The percentage of participants who reported their race as white was very nearly the same (approximately 60 percent) across all impairment categories, except for the cognitive impairment category (81 percent).

Educational achievement varied substantially by impairment category. Approximately 17 to 19 percent of participants in the cognitive, mental illness, and other chronic illness categories had less than a high school education, while only six percent of participants with mobility impairments and zero percent of participants with communication impairments did not complete high school. Individuals with communication impairments were most highly educated, with 58 percent possessing a four-year degree or more. The figure for those with mobility impairments was nearly 50 percent, and about 40 percent for people with mental illness.

Individuals with cognitive and other chronic illnesses were most likely to live in low-income (less than $15,000 annually) households (50 and 47 percent, respectively). Individuals with mobility and communication and impairments were the most likely to live in higher-income households, with 32 and 47 percent, respectively, living in households with incomes above $37,500 annually.

The average age of participants by category was similar, ranging from 36 to 39 years. Mean age at first work was also similar (between 19 and 21 years old). While the large majority of participants worked 35 or more hours per week, individuals with cognitive impairments averaged only 31 hours per week. Individuals with cognitive impairments also worked fewer months a year (10 months) versus about 10 to 12 months per year for those in other impairment categories. The number of lifetime job interruptions was highest for those with mental illnesses (2.4), while average interruptions ranged from 1.5 to 1.8 lifetime for the remaining impairment categories. Most participants lived in childless households (from a low of 67 percent among participants with communication impairments to a high of 91 percent among participants with cognitive impairments). Between 10 percent (among participants with cognitive impairments) and 30 percent (among participant with other chronic illnesses) lived in households with one or two children.

Exhibit 3. Participant Characteristics by Impairment
Characteristic Cognitive Communication Mental
Illness
Mobility Other
Chronic
Not
Identified
All
Sample Size 49 60 54 91 23 7 284
  Percent Percent Percent Percent Percent Percent Percent
SEX
Female 42.9 59.3 38.9 47.8 47.6 0.0 46.4
Male 57.1 40.7 61.1 52.2 52.4 100.0 53.6
Missing (N) 0 1 0 1 2 0 4
MARITAL STATUS
Single, Never Married 63.0 35.0 65.4 53.3 59.1 71.4 54.2
Married 23.9 45.0 17.3 34.4 9.1 28.6 29.6
Divorced 13.0 16.7 17.3 7.8 22.7 0.0 13.4
Separated 0.0 3.3 0.0 3.3 9.1 0.0 2.5
Widowed 0.0 0.0 0.0 1.1 0.0 0.0 0.4
Missing (N) 3 0 2 1 1 0 7
RACE
White 81.3 62.7 63.0 60.2 57.1 0.0 63.5
African-American 8.3 11.9 20.4 15.7 28.6 66.7 16.6
Asian 0.0 1.7 7.4 2.4 9.5 0.0 3.3
Other 10.4 20.3 7.4 18.1 4.8 33.3 14.4
Refused 0.0 3.4 1.9 3.6 0.0 0.0 2.2
Missing (N) 1 1 0 8 2 1 13
ETHNICITY
Hispanic 8.2 18.3 5.6 15.4 13.0 14.3 12.7
Non-Hispanic* 91.8 81.7 94.4 84.6 87.0 85.7 87.3
SITE
Los Angeles 20.4 43.3 33.3 45.1 39.1 0.0 36.6
Newark 30.6 11.7 25.9 26.4 21.7 100.0 25.4
Seattle/Tacoma 49.0 45.0 40.7 28.6 39.1   38.0
EDUCATION
Less Than High School 19.1 0.0 16.7 5.7 19.0 42.9 10.9
High School Graduate 55.3 6.8 16.7 13.8 14.3 57.1 21.1
Some College 17.0 35.6 25.9 33.3 42.9 0.0 29.5
Four-Year College or More 8.5 57.6 40.7 47.1 23.8 0.0 38.5
Missing (N) 2 1 0 4 2 0 9
PERSONAL EARNINGS
Less Than $10,000 43.8 6.7 37.0 12.1 30.4 16.7 22.7
$10,001-$20,000 41.7 21.7 29.6 26.4 39.1 66.7 30.5
$20,001-$35,000 10.4 33.3 14.8 29.7 26.1 16.7 23.8
$35,001-$50,000 4.2 20.0 16.7 19.8 4.3 0.0 14.9
$50,001-$75,000 0.0 13.3 0.0 9.9 0.0 0.0 6.0
More Than $75,000 0.0 5.0 1.9 2.2 0.0 0.0 2.1
Missing (N) 1 0 0 0 0 1 2
HOUSEHOLD INCOME
Less Than $15,000 50.0 7.0 29.2 19.3 47.4 66.7 26.4
$15,001-$37,500 35.0 45.6 47.9 33.0 42.1 33.3 39.5
$37,501-$52,500 5.0 24.6 8.3 13.6 5.3 0.0 12.8
$52,501-$75,000 2.5 17.5 8.3 18.2 0.0 0.0 12.0
More Than $75,000 7.5 5.3 6.3 15.9 5.3 0.0 9.3
Missing (N) 9 3 6 3 4 1 26
PARENTS' EDUCATION
Less than High School 15.6 18.6 26.5 13.3 10.0 28.6 17.4
High School Graduate 40.0 16.9 12.2 22.2 30.0 57.1 23.7
Some College 26.7 37.3 18.4 35.6 30.0 14.3 30.4
Four-Year College or More 17.8 27.1 42.9 28.9 30.0 0.0 28.5
Missing (N) 4 1 5 1 3 0 14
CHILDREN IN HOUSEHOLD
0 90.5 67.2 81.1 69.2 69.6 71.4 74.5
1 4.8 13.8 15.1 14.3 13.0 0.0 12.4
2 4.8 13.8 1.9 11.0 17.4 14.3 9.5
3 0.0 3.4 0.0 2.2 0.0 14.3 1.8
4 0.0 1.7 1.9 3.3 0.0 0.0 1.8
Missing (N) 7 2 4 0 0 0 10
AGE AT ONSET OF DISABILITY
0-12 87.8 78.3 20.4 40.0 69.6 50.0 55.4
13-18 2.0 10.0 31.5 22.2 17.4 50.0 17.6
19 and older 10.2 11.7 48.1 37.8 13.0 0.0 27.0
Missing (N) 0 0 0 1 0 5 6
Characteristic Cognitive Communication Mental
Illness
Mobility Other
Chronic
Not
Identified
All
Mean Mean Mean Mean Mean Mean Mean
Average Age 36.2 39.4 38.6 36.7 37.7 34.0 37.6
Missing (N) 1 0 0 0 0 0 1
EMPLOYMENT
Age at First Work 21.3 21.2 20.1 20.1 18.8 16.6 20.4
Hours Worked per Week 30.5 38.8 34.9 37.2 37.7 30.7 36.0
Months Worked per Year 9.6 11.4 11.4 11.6 10.4 10.3 11.1
Number of Job Interruptions 1.5 1.4 2.4 1.4 1.8 0.7 1.6
Missing (N) 7 2 2 5 0 2 18
* Includes both "No" responses and non-responses to "Do you consider yourself to be of Hispanic origin?"