Social integration in employment settings: application of intergroup contact theory.

This study used a survey of 106 employment specialists to test the ability of intergroup contact theory to explain social integration outcomes of employees with disabilities. Contact theory suggests that coworkers are more accepting of employees with disabilities if they have sufficient opportunities to interact with them, equal status and interdependent working relationships, and supervisors who support equality and acceptance. The contact model and an expanded model that includes workplace culture significantly predicted not only coworker attitudes toward employees with disabilities but also the employees’ level of social participation and feelings of social support. In addition, outcome dependency moderated the relation between the vocational competence of employees with disabilities and coworker attitudes toward them. Study findings have practical implications for facilitating social relationships in the supported workplace.