Supporting the employment participation of Canadian young adults with chronic conditions: a systematic review

Reasons for the study

Employment experiences during the "young adult" phase of life are critical to determining a person’s career trajectory. During this life phase, young adults report a number of vocational transitions, including graduating from school and finding and sustaining paid work. Challenges with employment during young adulthood can have long-term consequences, such as the risk of future unemployment or underemployment, reduced earnings and/or a deterioration of skills.

To date, much of the research on the employment of young adults with disabling health conditions has focused on the impact of health factors (e.g. disability type, disease severity, activity limitations), demographic characteristics (e.g. education, gender) and psychosocial perceptions (e.g. perceived social support, autonomy). It is unclear to what extent studies have examined the role of organizational conditions (e.g. availability of workplace accommodations, modifications and supports), training needs (e.g. skills building, vocational readiness), disability services (e.g. vocational rehabilitation) and policy-level factors (e.g. incentives to hire disabled young adults, enforcement of duty-to-accommodate legislation) that may be influential in facilitating the employment participation of young adults living with disabilities.

Objectives of the study

  • To examine the work-focused policies and programs that support the transition of young adults living with disabling health conditions into the labour market

Target audience

The findings from this study provide an evidence base on, and inform the design of, policies and practices that support the labour market engagement of young adults with chronic health conditions. As such, they are relevant to employers, young adults with disabilities and their families, clinicians and rehabilitation professionals, and policy-makers.

Related scientific publications

IWH Speaker Series presentations

Project status

Completed 2019

Research team

Collaborators and partners

Canadian Disability Participation Project
Queen's University
University of British Columbia—Okanagan
University of Guelph Disability Services