Introduction to the Centrality of Work for Individuals with Disabilities

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Work is the primary organizing structure of life, and the significance of work in the lives of individuals with disabilities has been radically altered over the past half a century. This chapter introduces the centrality of work and discusses the role and importance of work in meeting basic human needs. It identifies specific outcome domains for the three human needs of survival and power, social connection, and self-determination and well-being. The chapter describes the Illinois Work and Well-Being Model and discusses how it can be used to guide rehabilitation counseling case conceptualization. When the centrality of work is the core value guiding vocational rehabilitation services for individuals with disabilities, the rehabilitation counselor is working to increase the individual’s power, social connection, and self-determination. These outcomes can be operationalized by multiple outcomes and cannot be measured by the traditional dichotomous outcomes of employed versus unemployed.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCareer Development, Employment, and Disability in Rehabilitation
Subtitle of host publicationFrom Theory to Practice
EditorsDavid R. Strauser
PublisherSpringer Publishing Company
ISBN (Electronic)978-0-8261-5816-1
ISBN (Print)978-0-8261-5815-4
StatePublished - Dec 2020


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