Theses Doctoral

Disability Among Women Workers and the Role of Social Support Systems

El-Bassel, Nabila

The study examined factors affecting return to work following a short-term disability and measured the relationship between social support and the subject's well-being status, emphasizing the role of the social support system.

Subjects are 185 female city workers, members of District Council 37, AFSCME, AFL-CIO, and recently either physically or mentally disabled. They are entitled to a maximum of six-months short-term disability benefits.

Data, collected through a structured telephone interview, included the Arizona Social Support Interview Schedule (ASSIS), modified to the type of event (short-term disability), population (female), to measure perceived social support, and the General Well-Being Schedule to measure subjects' well-being. Univariate and multivariate statistical techniques were utilized.

Six variables predicted length of unemployment: (1) severity of illness; (2) general well-being; (3) type of disability (physical or mental); (4) quality of support from immediate family; (5) job tenure; and (6) perceived financial stress. None of the work social support variables were statistically significant in predicting length of unemployment.

A relationship between social support and well-being was found. Four variables predicted the subject's well-being status: (1) perceived financial stress; (2) job satisfaction; (3) quality of support from family; and (4) quality of support from friends.

Mentally disabled subjects remained longer on short-term disability than the physically disabled and a higher percentage were unemployed at the end of the six-month short-term disability, implying that they are at a greater risk of leaving the labor force.

Findings are consistent with existing research on the role of social support in promoting well-being and return to work, as well as identification of critical risk factors for leaving the labor force. These have critical implications for social work practice and policy, in general, and in union settings.


More About This Work

Academic Units
Social Work
Thesis Advisors
Akabas, Sheila H.
Fanshel, David
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
May 4, 2015