Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation

, Volume 23, Issue 4, pp 463–475 | Cite as

Factors Affecting the Acceptance of People with Disabilities at Work: A Literature Review

  • Katharina VornholtEmail author
  • Sjir Uitdewilligen
  • Frans J. N. Nijhuis


Purpose A lack of social acceptance by non-disabled co-workers is often the reason why employees with disabilities fail to stay in regular organizations for sustained periods. The aim of the study is to present a coherent review of the extant literature on factors affecting the acceptance of people with disabilities in regular employment. Method We conducted a search of the electronic databases PsychINFO and Web of Science (period: 1996–2011) supplemented with a search for additional relevant articles by means of cross-referencing. In total 48 articles were selected, coded and analyzed by three coders into three overarching themes. Results The analysis of included articles shows that the acceptance of employees with disabilities is influenced by three main variable groups: characteristics of co-workers, of the persons with disabilities and of the employers/organizations. Most studies present factors that influence co-workers’ or employers’ attitudes toward employees with disabilities such as demographic variables. Conclusion Although, recent research has started to accumulate findings on factors that affect the acceptance of employees with disabilities, many gaps remain in the understanding of the concept of acceptance and its relation to the employment of people with disabilities.


People with disabilities Employee acceptance Sustainable employment Literature review 



This research has been funded by the Atlant group, an organization for sheltered and supported employment.

Conflict of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katharina Vornholt
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sjir Uitdewilligen
    • 1
  • Frans J. N. Nijhuis
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Work and Social PsychologyMaastricht UniversityMaastrichtThe Netherlands

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