Person, environment, and occupation characteristics: What predicts work performance of employees with autism?

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Background: Despite the motivation and proven abilities of many autistic people, their employment rate remains low. This gloomy status relates to complex interactions between personal and environmental characteristics. The goals of this study, which were grounded in the person-environment-occupation (PEO) model, were to determine PEO characteristics that correlate with work participation of autistic people and to identify which PEO characteristics best predict the work performance and related self-efficacy of autistic people. Methods: Forty-seven employees with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and no cognitive disabilities receiving support services were recruited via a convenience sample. Each participant completed self-report assessments to evaluate personal, occupational, and work environmental characteristics, as well as work performance and related self-efficacy assessments. Spearman's correlations were used to establish the associations between the variables, and forward stepwise regression to reveal the characteristics that predict work performance and self-efficacy of employees with autism. Results: Significant correlations were found between work participation and each of the PEO model's dimensions. The person dimension (specifically, the repetitive and restricted behaviors and interest characteristic and other social characteristics in the workplace) was the most significant dimension explaining work participation of employees with autism, Conclusion: Analyzing employment through the PEO theoretical model may contribute to understanding the work-related challenges autistic employees face. Such understanding may assist in establishing evidence based employment-intervention programs to improve their work performance and work-related self-efficacy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101643
JournalResearch in Autism Spectrum Disorders
StatePublished - Oct 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier Ltd


  • Accessibility
  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Competitive employment
  • PEO model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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