The Center conducts on-going research that addresses the career development, vocational
behaviors, and psychological well-being of individuals who been unemployed, under-employed,
and socio-economically disadvantaged. The Center’s interdisciplinary research approach
focuses on how social, psychological, organizational, cultural, economic, and medical
factors impact the employment and career development of the groups identified above.
New research teams are currently being developed as the Center’s programs expand.
The links below provide additional information regarding the results of our recently
published and presented research.
University of Memphis Magazine, Fall 2001, profiles The Center for Rehabilitation and Employment Research.
The Relationship between Working Alliance and Rehabilitation Outcomes
Daniel C. Lustig, David R. Strauser, and N. Dewaine Rice
The University of Memphis
Tom F. Rucker, Bureau of Business and Economic Research/Center for Manpower Studies,
The University of Memphis
A key factor in the development of an effective relationship between the client and
counselor is the development of a strong working alliance (H. Bordin, 1979). While
considerable research has investigated the impact of the working alliance on counseling
outcomes, no research has considered the effect of the working alliance between rehabilitation
counselors and clients within the context of the State-Federal rehabilitation system.
This study used existing survey data on 2732 vocational rehabilitation clients during
fiscal year 1999-2000. Results indicate that (a) employed clients had a stronger working
alliance than unemployed clients, and (b) working alliance is related to perception
of future employment prospects and satisfaction with current job. Implications for
rehabilitation counselors are discussed.
(The full article can be found in Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin 46: 1).
Ethnic and Gender Influences on the Social Acceptance of Persons with Disabilities
by African American and White College Students
Chandra M. Donnell, Reginald, J. Alston, Joseph L. Hampton, Tyronn, J. Bell The University
A small number of studies have yielded inconclusive results when examining the assertion
that ethnic minorities have greater acceptance of persons with disabilities because
of shared minority group status. The purpose of this study was to explore the hypothesis
that African Americans, in comparison to Whites, hold more positive attitudes towards
persons with disabilities in social situations. Also, differences according to the
gender of the college student participants were explored. Implications for rehabilitation
counseling are provided.
(The full article can be found in The Journal of Applied Rehabilitation Counseling,
Analyzing the Differences in Career Thoughts Based on Disability Status
David R. Strauser, Daniel C. Lustig, Jeanmarie Keim, Kristi Ketz, Alvin Malesky The
University of Memphis
Research has suggested that an individual’s career thoughts play a significant role
in what an individual perceives as viable career options and how an individual makes
specific career choices. This study examined the differences in career thoughts between
63 individuals with a disability and a convenience sample of 149 college students
in a southern urban university. The results of independent sample t-tests suggested
no significant difference between the groups on all four scales of the Career Thoughts
Inventory. The authors discuss effect sizes, several possible explanations for the
results, and limitations to the study. The results would also suggest that rehabilitation
professionals working with individuals with disabilities should not assume that individuals
with disabilities have a higher level of dysfunctional career thoughts. Instead, rehabilitation
professionals should individually analyze an individual’s career thoughts to determine
implications for career development and rehabilitation planning.
(The full article can be found in the Journal of Rehabilitation, 68:1).
The Implications of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder on Vocational Behavior and Rehabilitation
David R. Strauser, Daniel C. Lustig The University of Memphis
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a condition that can occur at any age with
people who have no predisposing conditions. PTSD is distinguishable from other DSM-IV-TR
anxiety disorders as its symptoms develop after exposure to an extreme stressor or
traumatic event (i.e. rape, sexual assault, physical violence and war). Research has
suggested that individuals with disabilities, especially women, experience higher
rates of violence, abuse, and trauma when compared to their non-disabled peers (Watson-Armstrong,
O’Rourke,& Schatzlein, 1999), theoretically putting them at increased risk for the
development of PTSD. The purpose of this article is to provide a brief review of PTSD
and discuss the implications for rehabilitation planning and individual vocational
development. The Ecological Model of Career Development (Syzmanski, 2000) is applied
to help the reader conceptualize the effects of PTSD on vocational behavior. Specific
attention is given to the potential effect of PTSD on the congruence between the individual
and work environment. Recommendations are then offered to increase the effectiveness
of rehabilitation counselors working with individuals with disabilities who may be
(The full article can be found in Journal of Rehabilitation, 67: 4).
Developmental Work Personality Scale: An Initial Analysis
David R. Strauser, Jeanmarie Keim The University of Memphis
The research reported in this article involved using the Developmental Model of Work
Personality to create a scale to measure work personality. The Developmental Work
Personality Scale (DWPS) consists of 26 items that measure the structural components
of the model. Results from statistical analysis suggested that the DWPS measures the
overall construct of work personality, that it has good internal consistency (a= .91),
and that the overall construct validity of the scale was supported by three of the
five WPP-SR factors, creating a unique relationship with the overall score on the
DWPS. Overall, results indicated that the DWPS may have potential applications for
assessing work personality prior to client involvement in comprehensive return-to-work
(The full article can be found in Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin, 45: 2)
The Relationship Between Self-Efficacy, Locus of Control, and Work Personality
David R. Strauser, Kristi Ketz The University of Memphis
The purpose of this study was to examine Hershenson’s theory of work adjustment by
examining the relationship between work personality and work competencies. Specifically,
this study examined the theoretical link and the reciprocal effect between the domains
of work personality and work competencies. Participants included 104 job placement
service recipients in a large Southern urban area. Findings showed that higher levels
of work personality predicted an internal locus of control and higher job-related
self-efficacy. The number of jobs a person had held was correlated with work personality
and work persistence was correlated with education. Findings also indicated that individuals
whose parents/guardians worked while they were growing up had more internalized locus
of control. Results are discussed in light of current literature.
(The full article located in Journal of Rehabilitation, 68:1)
The Relationship Between Sense of Coherence and Adjustment in Persons with Disabilities
Daniel C. Lustig Auburn University, David A. Rosenthal, University of Wisonsin-Stout,
David R. Strauser, University of Memphis, and Kelly Haynes, Auburn University
The concepts of salutogenesis and Antonovsky’s sense of coherence are introduced.
Salutogenesis and sense of coherence are based upon factors (i.e., comprehensibility,
manageability, and meaningfulness) that promote health rather than those factors that
cause disease. This study investigated the relationship between sense of coherence
and adjustment in individuals with a disability (i.e., 89 college students with disabilities).
Results indicated a positive correlation between sense of coherence and adjustment
(p < .01). The subscales of sense of coherence accounted for 77% of the variance in
adjustment, with the meaningfulness subscale accounting for the greatest percentage.
The value of these paradigms and implications for rehabilitation counseling are disclosed.
(The full article located in Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin, 43:3)
The Relationship Between Sense of Coherence and Career Thoughts
Daniel C. Lustig, David R. Strauer The University of Memphis
The authors examined the impact of sense of coherence on the career thought process
of a sample of college students. A. Antonovsky (1987) defined sense of coherence as
the global orientation that the world is comprehensible, manageable, and meaningful.
Study participants completed the Sense of Coherence Scale (A. Antonovsky, 1987) and
the Career Thoughts Inventory (CTI, J.P. Sampson, G.W. Peterson, J.G. Lenz, R.C. Reardon,
& D.E. Saunders, 1996). Multivariate tests indicated a medium relationship between
sense of coherence and CTI Total subscale scores; sense of coherence accounted for
14% of the variance. Univariate tests also indicated a medium relationship between
sense of coherence and each subscale.
(The full article is located in The Career Development Quarterly, vol. 51).
Challenges Faced by Minority Doctoral Candidates Seeking Academic Positions
Dion F. Porter, Jackson State University, Chandra M. Donnell, University of Memphis,
Yolanda V. Edwards, University of Maryland, Corey L. Moore, Langston University
Minority doctoral candidates face numerous obstacles during the process of applying
for an academic position in rehabilitation education. This article provides a few
sentiments into many of the challenges faced by graduating minority doctoral candidates
attempting to obtain academic positions in rehabilitation education programs. Specifically,
the challenges for minorities seeking academic positions discussed include issues
relating to diversity and faculty support, the mentoring of new faculty, and the preferred
competencies in instructing via distance education. Information presented in this
article may assist minority doctoral candidates as well as prospective employers within
the academy in making the application process a more efficient one.
(The full article is located in Rehabilitation Education, 16:1)
Family Coping in Families with a Child with a Disability
Daniel C. Lustig University of Memphis
This study investigates the relationship between a family’s problems solving and coping
strategies, and family adjustment in a sample of families with a child with a disability.
Participants were 89 parents of children with disabilities, not including children
with learning disabilities in Special Education classes, in rural and urban school
districts. Family adjustment was measured by the Family Assessment Device-General
Functioning scales (F-COPES). The results indicate that less frequent use of passive
appraisal and more frequent use of reframing are associated with family adjustment.
Interventions for modifying a family’s coping strategies are discussed.
(The full article is located in Education and Training in Mental Retardation and Developmental
Examining the Differences in Career Thoughts of Women in Three Low Socioeconomic Status
Jeanmarie Keim, David R. Strauser, Kristi Ketz
The authors examined differences in career thoughts of three groups of women from
low socioeconomic status backgrounds. The three groups were composed of women who
were not seeking employment, women attempting to obtain General Educational Development
(GED) certification prior to seeking employment, and women with disabilities who were
participating in readiness-to-work programs. Results indicated that there were significant
differences in participants’ career thoughts. Specifically, career thoughts of women
who were not seeking employment were significantly less dysfunctional that were the
career thoughts of the women who were pursuing their GED certification and those of
the women with disabilities who were participating in a job-readiness training program.
The impact of negative career thoughts is discussed.
(The full article is located in Journal of Employment Counseling, vol. 39)
Interagency Collaboration: Reinforcing Professional Bridges to Serve Aging Populations
with Multiple Service Needs
Debra A. Harley, University of Kentucky, Chandra Donnell, University of Memphis, JoAnne
Rainey, Kentucky State University
Aging consumers with disabilities have multiple needs that require services from various
agencies. This article addresses implications for collaboration between vocational
rehabilitation, social work, and mental health agencies. Attention is given to the
basis for integrative and collaborative helping, and strategies for functional integration
and collaboration. Recommendations are made regarding public policy and service coordination.
(The full article can be found in Journal of Rehabilitation, April/May/June 2003)