Keeping People with Disabilities in the Workforce: Negotiating Work, Life and Disability – Field Initiated Research Project


Whether a person with a disability or not, it is essential to find the proper balance between work and other life domains. This study is one of the first to investigate the specific work-life experiences and strategies of individuals with disabilities. Findings from this project may help our understanding of how individuals with disabilities find satisfying, sustainable employment, enabling longer, more productive careers.

The Work-Life Balance study provided new knowledge about how people with disabilities effectively manage work-life negotiations, what employer policies and practices contribute to a positive balance for these workers, and best practices employers and disability service providers can engage in to help individuals with disabilities to find and retain employment.

Project Activities

The first phase of the study included fielding a survey to the networks of over 100 organizations that serve individuals with disabilities(e.g., regional ADA Technical Assistance Centers, Centers for Independent Living, and organizations that serve people with specific types of disabilities/chronic health conditions). The survey sought to identify workplace components, such as supervisory support and provision of reasonable accommodations that contribute to positive workplace experiences for people with disabilities.

In the second phase of the study, virtual focus groups were conducted to further explore issues noted in the survey results. The focus group data supported findings from the survey.

Findings from the project have been shared via webinars, conference presentations, blog posts, and in academic and non-academic publications, as well as through the Work-Life Balance & Disability website.


Contact Information

LaWanda Cook

Funding Agencies


Principal Investigator

LaWanda Cook

Collaborating Partners

The American Association of People with Disabilities, the U.S. Business Leadership Network.