Presentation T O24

T O24 (Oral Presentation):
Predictors of work participation of young adults with mild intellectual disabilities

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



Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities (ID) are three to four times less often employed compared to their non-disabled peers. Evidence for factors associated with work participation of young adults with ID is limited. Furthermore, studies on predictors for sustainable work participation among young adults with ID is lacking altogether. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate which factors predict finding as well as maintaining employment of young adults with mild ID.


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 735 individuals with mild ID, aged 15-27 years, applying for a disability benefit at the Dutch Social Security Institute. 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.


Of the participants, 67.5% had not found work during the follow-up, 32.6% found work, of whom 17.6% dropped out and 15.0% worked for at least six months. Motivation (HR=3.47, 95%CI 1.31-9.21), expectations regarding future work level (expectation to work fulltime HR=4.09, 95%CI 2.57-6.53; expectation to work part-time HR=2.33, 95%CI 1.46-3.72) and living situation (living with parents or family HR=2.95, 95%CI 1.20-7.21; living independently HR=2.96, 95%CI 1.50-5.81) predicted finding work by individuals with mild ID. With regard to maintaining employment for at least 6 months, similar results were found.


In our study, personal factors exceeded social factors in importance when predicting work participation in this group. Motivation, expectations regarding future work level and living situation all predicted work participation for young adults with mild ID. Results showed no substantial differences between predictors for finding and maintaining employment. As personal factors were especially influential in predicting work outcome, motivation and expectations may be suitable factors to include in interventions designed to support young adults with mild ID to find and maintain 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