Theses and Dissertations - UTB/UTPA

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Rehabilitation Counseling

First Advisor

Dr. Chuck Reid

Second Advisor

Dr. Roy K. Chen

Third Advisor

Dr. Bruce Reed


The purpose of this study was to examine the nature and extent of factors affecting employer's perspectives when hiring individuals in recovery, and their willingness to provide reasonable accommodations. The study investigated (a) employer perspectives based on specific demographic characteristics, (b) employer perspectives differences based on industry types, (c) the relationship between personal and business related characteristics, and employer perspectives, (d) employer willingness to provide reasonable accommodations, (e) the relationship between personal and business related characteristics, and employer willingness to provide accommodations, (f) the relationship between employer perspectives and willingness to accommodate, and (g) employer views regarding personal experience, collegiality, and hiring individuals in recovery. Past investigation of employer attitudes focused on stigmatized groups including persons with disabilities (PWD), individuals with HIV/AIDS, and ex-offenders, but none address attitudes towards individuals in recovery.

The dependent variables were scales used to investigate employers' level of concern and willingness to accommodate, Modified Employer Attitudes Questionnaire (M-EAQ) and the Willingness to Accommodate Scale (WAS). Both scales utilized a 5-point likert scale. Independent variables consisted of demographic data, personal and business characteristics related to recovery, and a measurement of compassion measured by the Santa Clara Brief Compassion Scale. The study participants were 436 employers from the local Chambers of Commerce recruited to participate in the survey. A mixed methods design, concurrent triangulation, was used to collect quantitative and qualitative data components simultaneously, then analyze the data separately, and compare or combine the results of each. Descriptive and inferential statistical methods were utilized for quantitative data analysis. Qualitative data analysis using thematic analysis was employed to analyze two open-ended questions.

The overall results demonstrated employer perspectives vary but majority of participants have relatively favorable perspectives toward individuals in recovery. Employers reported a high level of likelihood to provide accommodations. However, many believe there are challenges and hindrances such as a lack of knowledge, resources, and training when working with individuals in recovery. Based on the findings, implications will be offered for educators, practitioners, employers, and policy makers. Limitations of the study, future research and suggestions are also discussed.


Copyright 2014 Alicia Brown. All Rights Reserved.

Granting Institution

University of Texas-Pan American