Work motivation of adults with ASD

Principal Investigator(s):
Yael Goldfarb
Grant Type:
Graduate Research
University of Haifa
Haifa, Israel
Year Awarded:
Behavior, Emotions, Mental Health; Employment, Transition, and Adults


Background: A dramatic increase in the diagnosis of individuals with ASD is evidenced in recent years. While there is extensive research on children with ASD, research among adults with ASD is still limited, and efforts are being made to expand it in new directions that look at the challenges of adulthood. Given the pivotal role of work in the lives of individuals in general, and in the life of adults diagnosed with ASD in particular – successful integration in the world of labor is of major importance. Motivation, lies at the heart of the work activity, and the proposed study will focus on “Work Motivation among Adults with ASD”, and its expression in the labor market.
Methodology and statistical analyses: The study’s perspective derives from Self-Determination Theory (SDT). Following SDT, it is hypothesized that fulfillment of basic psychological needs (of autonomy, competence, and relatedness), leads to a more autonomous type of motivation, which in turn contributes to better integration in the labor market – indicated by higher job satisfaction, less turnover intent, and better emotional well-being. Using a crosssectional survey research method, quantitative data will be collected from a sample of 70 adults with ASD and from a comparison group of 70 TD working adults. The data will be used to test hypotheses derived from the theoretical STD Model.
Contribution: Findings can shed light on unique motivational constructs that drive and lead individuals with ASD. The results have the potential for the derivation of practical implications regarding the optimal work environment for promoting self-determination and its positive outcomes, to the benefit of workers with ASD, their caregivers and employers. Placing working adults with ASD within an established theoretical framework regarding work motivation can contribute to better integration of ASD workers into the general labor force and consequently promoting a positive climate for diversity.

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