Academic journal article Learning Disability Quarterly

Attributes Contributing to the Employment Satisfaction of University Graduates with Learning Disabilities

Academic journal article Learning Disability Quarterly

Attributes Contributing to the Employment Satisfaction of University Graduates with Learning Disabilities

Article excerpt

Abstract. One hundred and thirty-two graduates with learning disabilities (LD) of a large, public, competitive postsecondary institution were surveyed to determine levels of employment self-efficacy and satisfaction. Based upon a response rate of 67% (N = 89), graduates reported high levels of employment self-efficacy and satisfaction. Although there were no significant differences related to levels of self-efficacy and job satisfaction and selected demographic variables, perceptions of employment self-efficacy and the use of self-regulatory strategies/accommodations were found to be significant predictors of employment satisfaction.


The employment experiences of college graduates with learning disabilities (LD) have drawn increasing attention in the professional literature (Adelman & Vogel, 1990; Greenbaum, Graham, & Scales, 1996; Horn, Berktold, & Bobbit, 1999; Madaus, Foley, McGuire, & Ruban, 2001; Madaus, Foley, McGuire, & Ruban, 2002; Silver, Strehorn, & Bourke, 1997; Vogel & Adelman, 2000; Witte, 2001; Witte, Phillips, & Kakela, 1998). These investigations are reporting some positive outcomes, such as employment rates that are comparable to those of non-LD peers and that exceed those of young adults with LD who do not receive postsecondary degrees. Furthermore, the reported salaries of college graduates with LD far outpace salaries reported by adults with LD who do not graduate from postsecondary institutions (Blackorby & Wagner, 1997; Goldstein, Murray, & Edgar, 1998; Madaus et al., 2001; Vogel & Adelman, 2000; Witte et al., 1998), and appear competitive with salaries earned by professionals in the United States workforce at large (Buckley, 1999). Indeed, it appears that a successful postsecondary experience can make an important difference in the employment outcomes of young adults with LD (Madaus et al., 2001).

While employment rates and levels of salary are unquestionably important, another critical consideration in determining successful adult outcomes is employment satisfaction. Given the amount of time people spend working, a job "determines whether a substantial part of our lives is repetitively boring, burdensome, and distressing or lastingly challenging and self-fulfilling" (Bandura, 1997, p. 422). Indeed, employment satisfaction can be considered a major quality-of-life indicator (Marinoble & Hegenauer, 1988).

Research specific to the employment satisfaction of college graduates with LD is limited and often conflicting, with many existing studies measuring job satisfaction through a single question (Witte et al., 1998). The present study sought to comprehensively determine levels of employment satisfaction of a sample of university graduates with LD and, additionally, to determine what personal and work-based attributes contribute to these perceptions.


Employment Satisfaction and Adults with LD

Witte et al. (1998) examined perceptions of job satisfaction in a group of 55 college graduates with LD with a 25-question survey that covered five areas, Work, Supervision, Colleagues, Promotion, and Pay. Respondents reported a general dissatisfaction with employment, including being assigned tasks below their ability level, receiving ineffective supervision, maintaining superficial relationships with colleagues, receiving lower pay, and having fewer opportunities for promotion than their non-LD colleagues.

This dissatisfaction with employment may ripple into overall life satisfaction. For example, many of the adults with LD interviewed by Roffman (2000) described job-related dissatisfaction, which they also reported had a negative impact on their overall quality of life. While these investigations have identified employment areas in which adults with LD are satisfied or dissatisfied, no investigation has explored how employment and personal factors specifically contribute to employment satisfaction. …

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