Campus Location

Dallas Campus (Online)

Date of Award



Document Type



Organizational Leadership

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

Committee Chair or Primary Advisor

Julie M. Lane

Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor

Laura A. Perry

Third Committee Member or Committee Reader

Deardra Hayes-Whigham


Individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) live in the community in apartments, group home settings, and host home environments. They need support in all aspects of adaptive living skills to live independently. Direct support professionals (DSPs) provide support in areas of grooming, oral hygiene, toileting, laundry, housekeeping, meal planning, meal preparation, medication administration, mobility, recreation, shopping, and grocery shopping. This qualitative phenomenological study examined why DSPs remain in the position despite experiencing low wages, inadequate benefits, lack of adequate training, and lack of opportunities for upward mobility. Using the theoretical framework of job embeddedness, this research was conducted to understand the lived experiences of DSPs working in home and community-based long-term care services. Purposive sampling of 10 DSPs allowed participants to engage in semistructured interview questions. The participants shared their experiences and responded to questions identified in the interview protocol. The procedures of initial coding and the Otter transcription service were utilized to transcribe the data. Four themes were identified, including love, joy, empathy, and service. The study provided unique perspectives on DSPs and their unwavering commitment to serve individuals with IDD. The study provides insights into how intrinsic values embed employees in their jobs and influence motivations to stay.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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