Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences – Department of Writing and Communication


Kathleen Kardaras

Committee Member

Annalisa Smith


Unemployment caused by the need to treat and recover from a disability due to injury or chronic illness is a common phenomenon. Research illustrates that absence from work damages organizational growth, employers, and employees. Employees often experience problems with their mental and physical health that affect their social identity and function. In the context of the recognized value of employment for human health and well being, policy-makers have implemented various programs and approaches to encourage re-employment of those unemployed due to required treatment and rehabilitation. Many of the approaches are driven by financial incentives to encourage individuals to rejoin the workforce and become less dependent on government benefits. Those approaches do not appear to provide adequate motivation for many disabled Americans, a fact that is exacerbating the existing strain on Social Security. Through the use of interviews, this study explored the motivations of individuals who have experienced an injury or chronic illness and successfully managed to return to the workforce. This research demonstrated their common obstacles, what tools they found most instrumental, and what the primary motivators driving their transition back to work.