Employment, social capital, and community participation have emerged in recent years as significant concepts for realizing the human rights of individuals with disabilities. Yet the theoretical inter-relationships of these concepts remains largely overlooked, as does the empirical basis for understanding the underlying connections. The current study aims are two fold: first, to explore the relationships between employment status, social capital, community participation and well-being among Israelis with disabilities. Second, to explore the unique contribution of social capital to the well-being and integration of individuals with disabilities.
A total of 274 participants with self-reported disabilities completed a questionnaire containing measures of individual social capital, community participation, well-being and background data. Correlation and univariate analysis were used to compare scores between employed (n=131) and nonemployed (n=143) participants, and logistic regression analysis was conducted to test the unique contribution of employment to social inclusion and well-being.
Core findings indicate that employed participants reported significantly higher levels of social capital and were more integrated in leisure and civic activities than their non-employed counterparts. Moreover, employment status was found to have a significant contribution to the variance in the participant’s subjective well-being.
Acknowledging the importance of social capital for community inclusion may inspire disability advocates to better address the importance of network building as means of promoting social and vocational inclusion.