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J Occup Rehabil. 2013 Dec;23(4):463-75. doi: 10.1007/s10926-013-9426-0.

Factors affecting the acceptance of people with disabilities at work: a literature review.

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Department of Work and Social Psychology, Maastricht University, P.O. Box 616, 6200 MD, Maastricht, The Netherlands,



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.


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.


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.


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.

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