Welcome to the Yang-Tan Institute at Cornell University's ILR School Link to Cornell University homepage

Work-Life Balance and Disability: Field Initiated Research Project

EDI Home Disability Employment Research Work-Life Balance and Disability: Field Initiated Research Project


Balance between work and the rest of life is vital to individuals’ employment success and overall wellbeing. Employees who lack work-life balance (WLB) may experience reduced productivity, decreased job satisfaction, and opt to leave their jobs or exit the workforce altogether rather than struggle to meet competing demands. Despite evidence that people with disabilities experience unique job stressors and that the workplace is among the most stressful settings, the experiences of workers with disabilities are largely absent from the significant body of literature about how workers negotiate the work and non-work domains. A critical need exists to understand the strategies and resources used by individuals with disabilities who are successfully employed in order to inform programming intended to increase and enhance workplace participation and engagement generally among individuals with disabilities.

This field-initiated research project is designed to explore the intersection of work and life for employed individuals with disabilities, in order to inform individuals with disabilities, employers and disability service professionals about effective policies and practices that can be utilized to improve and enhance employment and work-life outcomes for individuals with disabilities.


Project Activities

This three year project will use a mixed-method approach to gathering data. During year one, the project team will develop and conduct a survey of employed individuals with disabilities. This survey will address: WLB; individual management strategies and resources; identity; individual factors; work context factors; Quality of Work-Life; and employment outcomes. Through our analyses we will develop and test a model of the linkages between these variables. During year two of the project, the team will conduct virtual focus groups with employed individuals with disabilities, recruited through participation in our survey. Through open-ended focus group questions we will gain an in-depth understanding of the WLB concerns and strategies of people with disabilities. During the final year of the project, the team will focus on synthesizing research findings, developing materials to benefit individuals with disabilities, employers and disability service professionals. Given the breadth of constructs we are exploring in this study, we expect to be able to provide valuable information to all three stakeholder groups about strategies they can utilize to facilitate the success of individuals with disabilities.


Project Materials

Work-Life Balance Focus Group Protocol (PDF | 166kb)

About the Project

Funding Agency

U.S. Department of Education, National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research

Collaborating Partners

Contact Us

  • Valerie Malzer
  • 201 Dolgen Hall
  • Ithaca, NY 14853
  • Telephone: 607-254-6376
  • Fax: 607-255-2763
  • TTY: 607-255-2891
  • Email: vbm5@cornell.edu
back to top