Motivation for Employment in Norwegian Adults with Mild Intellectual Disability: The Role of Competence, Autonomy, and Relatedness


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Scandinavian Journal of Disability Research;Volume 21, Issue 1


Stockholm University Press

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In Norway, very few people with intellectual disability (ID) are employed, and most of them receive a disability pension. This suggests that they may not face a financial need for employment, but participation in the labor market may provide persons with ID with other benefits, such as social inclusion and self-realization. This article explores what motivates Norwegian adults with ID to participate in the labor market. The study is based on qualitative interviews with use of photovoice with seven employees from sheltered workshops and competitive employment, and their employers. A thematic structural analysis revealed the following themes: experience of self-efficacy, having sufficient workload, personal development, self-determination, salary, social relationships, and meaningful employment. These themes were then structured into three categories based on Ryan and Deci’s (2002) self-determination theory: competence, autonomy, and relatedness. Findings suggest that employees with ID value their work for the sense of self-efficacy that it gives them and for the social contact that the work floor provides. Participants reported to experience little autonomy and self-determination at work.




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