Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Karen Lyness

Committee Members

Erin Eatough

Joel Lefkowitz

Charles Scherbaum

Kristin Sommer

Subject Categories

Industrial and Organizational Psychology | Inequality and Stratification | Labor Economics | Work, Economy and Organizations


disabilities, discrimination, human capital resources, job outcomes, social capital resources, US labor force


Little is known about why poor job outcomes for workers with disabilities (WD) persist. Hence, the aim of this study was to combine and extend human capital, social capital, and multiple jeopardy advantage theories to develop and test a comprehensive model of the processes explaining job outcomes for WD. Data from the 2010 US National Health Interview Survey (N=3,887) and O*Net were analyzed to investigate the extent to which disability status (i.e., WD with work limitations, WD with no work limitations, or non-disabled workers [NDW]) relates to four types of work outcomes (i.e., annual compensation, employment status, job insecurity, and workplace harassment) indirectly through human and social capital resources and whether there are gender or racial/ethnic differences in these relationships.

Results revealed that WD received lower returns than NDW on comparable levels of career-related capital resources, especially health-related human capital and, to a lesser extent, social capital and education- and training-related human capital. Thus, evidence was supportive of discrimination, as equivalent social and productivity-related characteristics and qualifications yielded less favorable job outcomes for WD than for NDW. Findings indicated that the effects of discrimination on several work outcomes were larger for male than for female WD. Additionally, Hispanic WD with work limitations received less annual compensation than White counterparts via lower returns on work experience- and tenure-related human capital. The limitations of this research, as well as important implications of the findings for theory, practice, and governmental policy, are discussed.