Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Abraham S. Fischler College of Education


Gisele Waters

Committee Member

Gary Reglin


attitudes toward disabilities, disabilities, disability, disabled employment, education, physical disability


Decades of research in the field of disability and employment have recorded various negative and positive employer attitudes towards the disabled. In comparison to other disability categories, the physically disabled tend to evoke more negative stereotypes, attitudes, and misconceptions in employers. Physical appearance and physical deformities continue to be a barrier to full participation in employment. Thus, additional research is needed to understand and explore how these attitudes are impacting employment experiences. The purpose of this study was to examine employers’ attitudes towards individuals with a physical disability during the hiring process.

An online survey was completed with the collaboration of a veteran diversity professional. Three research questions were asked about the perceptions, selection criteria, and first impressions that employers had about the hiring process. Employers and hiring managers were asked to take a brief 15-minute survey via an online business professional network (LinkedIn). The 28-question survey was posted to SurveyMonkey and descriptive statistics were used to determine the positive and negative aspects of employers’ attitudes, behaviors, and opinions towards individuals with a physical disability during the hiring process. Responses from 47 participants yielded some interesting results which included: conflicting women’s attitudes, the disabled tended to be accepted but rejected, first impressions mattered, costs for accommodations tended to override intentions, diversity training was not emphasized, and finally many attitudes from the same correspondents contradicted each other. Deeper qualitative analysis is recommended to better understand how and why these attitudes take place and under what conditions.

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