Natural support has become a well-recognized concept to both practitioners and federal regulators. Although qualitative and descriptive information about natural supports is available, there is no commonly accepted definition and little quantitative documentation. Nonetheless, the notion of “natural supports” remains a potentially viable strategy toward improving supported employment outcomes. In this study the relation between employment features and outcomes for employees with disabilities in relation to natural support was investigated as was the extent to which the experiences of people with disabilities mirror typical employment conditions experienced by people without disabilities.

Preparation of this paper was supported in part by the National Institute on Disability Rehabilitation and Research, U.S. Department of Education Grant No. H133G40124, and The Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Foundation. The authors express their sincere appreciation to personnel from the vocational programs whose participation and contribution made this research project possible.

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