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A Preliminary Investigation of Factors Affecting Employment Motivation in People With Intellectual Disabilities


Dr. John Rose, School of Psychology, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2TT UK. Tel: +44 121 414 2640; E-mail:


Relatively small numbers of people with intellectual disabilities (ID) are engaging in paid employment and those who are tend to be working only part-time. This preliminary study addressed the question of what factors motivate people with ID to work. The issue was investigated in a sample of 10 young work-age adults attending supported learning courses at a further education college in England. Participants were asked directly about their feelings through a focus group. A set of questions with additional prompts was used to elicit responses, and cards and scales were used as visual aids. Participants were asked about what factors motivated them to work and what factors deterred them from working. Thematic analysis of the transcribed tapes revealed three major themes that affected participants' motivation to work: monetary gain, social aspects, and perceived competence. More detailed research is needed in order to validate these findings with a larger, more representative sample.