Psychosocial Aspects of Chronic Illness and Disability among African Americans

By Faye Z. Belgrave | Go to book overview

ability were present. This finding was unexpected because of the strong impact of social support on adjustment to disability found in other studies ( Belgrave & Walker, 1991a & b; Wilson, 1988). One possible explanation for why social support was not significant in the multivariate analyses (but was significant in the bivariate analyses) is that it is tied closely to self-esteem and attitudes toward the disability. Therefore, social support may not have made a contribution to explaining the variance after controlling for self-esteem and attitudes toward the disability. This finding suggests that social support may indirectly impact vocational success through its impact on self-esteem and attitudes toward disability.

The study supported Wallander et al. ( 1989) model of risk and resistance factors in adaption of chronic illness and disability. The results of this study indicated that both risk and resistance factors accounted for successful employment outcomes. All of the resistance factors were significant in multivariate analyses. The risk factor was significant in two of the multivariate analyses. The current study provides support for the role of intrapersonal, socioecological, and stress-processing variables in this population of African Americans with disabilities.


SUMMARY

The purpose of this study was to identify factors and test a model of resistance and risk factors on employment outcomes of African Americans with disabilities. In doing so, we gained a better perspective of the target population.

Some of the findings on vocational variables are especially noteworthy. An overwhelming majority desired to work and a large percentage, 78%, felt they could work. These findings debunk the myth that persons who are unemployed do not want to work and are satisfied with receiving social services and unemployment benefits. This desire to work can be used to motivate the individual to acquire skills to enhance employability.

The results provide partial support for risk and resistance variables as predictors of employment outcomes. All three of the resistance factors and the one risk factor were related to employment outcomes in the bivariate analyses. Self-esteem (intrapersonal factor), beliefs about disability (stress-processing factor), perceived support (socioecological factor) and disability severity (risk factor) were related to both employment status and attitude toward employment.

Multivariate analyses allowed us to assess the unique contributions of each of the resistance and risk factors when all other factors were accounted for. The analysis performed with employment status as the outcome revealed that two of the resistance factors made unique and

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