Presentation T O22

T O22 (Oral Presentation):
Predictors of sustainable work participation of young adults with developmental disorders

Presented by: Anja Holwerda

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Holwerda A1,2, Klink JJL van der1,2, Boer MR de3, Groothoff JW1,2, Brouwer S1,2

  1. Department of Health Sciences, Community & Occupational Medicine, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, The Netherlands
  2. Graduate School for Health Research, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, The Netherlands
  3. Department of Health Sciences, VU University, Amsterdam, the Netherlands



For individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and attention deficit disorders (ADD) work participation is a challenge, as shown by their low employment rates ranging from less than 10% to 54%. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate which personal and social factors predict work participation, finding work as well as maintaining employment, of young adults with DD, and to examine whether the results for the subgroups of ASD and ADD converge or diverge.


This study is part of a cohort study ‘Young Disabled at Work’ examining factors that predict work participation among young adults. We obtained data on 563 individuals with DD, aged 15-27 years. Participants completed a questionnaire on personal and social factors at baseline, which were linked to registry-data regarding work outcome. The follow-up period ranged from 1.25 to 2.75 years. Cox regression (survival) analyses were conducted in order to examine which factors predicted work participation.


Being male (for ADD), living independently (for ASD), expecting to be able to work fulltime (for ASD and ADD), high perceived support from parents and perceived positive attitude of parents regarding work (for ASD and ADD) and perceived positive attitude of social environment (for ADD) predicted finding work by the young adult, while being male (for ADD) and higher age (for ASD and ADD) and positive attitude of social environment regarding work (for ASD) predicted maintaining employment.


The results indicate that both personal and social factors are important in predicting work outcome for individuals with DD, and that predictors for finding work differ substantially from predictors for maintaining employment. Living independently, expectations to be able to work fulltime and lower perceived parental support and positive attitude of parents regarding work were only related to finding work, whereas higher age and positive attitude of environment regarding work predicted maintaining employment. As expectation regarding future work level is an important predictor for finding work and a modifiable factor, it is important for professionals to take the expectations of individuals with DD into account when supporting these individuals to find work.

Schedule Details

Tuesday September 30
13:45 - 15:15 Afternoon Concurrent Sessions (T O13 - T O24 and Seminar 5)
Session: Work disability in younger workers
Room A