Perceptions of Youth with Disabilities in Bhutan on Family Support, Attitudes, and Encouragement towards Meaningful Community Engagement: Implications for Parental Self-Efficacy




Bhutan, Family, Attitudes, Support, Self-Efficacy, Disability, Inclusion


Purpose: Awareness and attention towards disability-inclusion in Bhutan has steadily increased over the last few years. However, there are still many challenges that remain to support meaningful employment and community engagement for youth with disabilities such as inequity, discrimination, stigma, inaccessible physical environments, and bullying that seems to impact the self-efficacy of the youth with disabilities themselves. In this article, we explore how youth with disabilities in Bhutan perceive their family’s level of support, attitudes, and encouragement in order to explore the implications of parental self-efficacy. Method: This article reports the perceptions of youth with disabilities (n = 216; Male = 127 & Female = 87) about family attitudes, support systems, and family encouragement towards their employment and the role of parental self-efficacy beliefs. The participants for the national level survey were recruited through purposeful and snowball sampling procedures. Data were analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics. Results: Findings from this study suggest that youth with disabilities were supported and encouraged to contribute to the family livelihood within the home, but less so out in the community, indicating lower parental self-efficacy beliefs about their child with a disability’s capabilities to contribute in the community and their own ability to facilitate and ensure that contribution. Conclusion: Negative family attitude and lower self-efficacy – and, equally, the youth with a disability’s perception of their negative family attitudes and low self-efficacy – can be detrimental as it limits the ability of persons with disabilities to fulfil and achieve their life goals. This article recommends further research into the self-efficacy beliefs of the parents themselves, as well as further engagement, awareness, and training for parents to support their efforts to support their child with a disability to engage in meaningful employment and community activities.

Author Biographies

Kezang Sherab, Royal University of Bhutan

Kezang Sherab is the Dean of Research and Industrial Linkages/Assistant Professor at the Paro College of Education, Royal University of Bhutan. He has a PhD (Cum Laude) in Education from the University of New England in Australia and M.Ed in Curriculum and Instruction from St. Francis Xavier University in Canada. He teaches Health and Physical Education and Research Methodology courses both at the undergraduate and graduate levels and provides professional development programmes for school teachers, university academics, and also for youth voluntary groups. Kezang has published on a variety of educational topics, reviewed journal manuscripts, examined PhD theses and has led several consultancies for the Ministry of Education (MoE), UNICEF, National Council, UNFPA, and the Royal Education Council. His research interests are in educational change, student engagement, efficacy beliefs, GNH Education, non-cognitive skills and issues concerning the youth. He served as the Dean of Research and Industrial Linkages at the Centre for Educational Research and Development from 2009-2010 and 2014-2017. He was the Editor-in-Chief for the RABSEL, the CERD Educational Journal, and the Founder of Journal of Educational Action Research (JEAR). He was successful in winning several International and nationally funded projects and bids that helped establish collaborations and exchange programmes with external universities. Kezang has successfully organised International (International Society for Teacher Education Seminars - 32nd in 2012) and 7th International Association of Art in Early Childhood Conference (in 2017) and national seminars (Education through sports and physical education 2005). He will be the Convener for the 2023 International Society for Teacher Education Seminar that will be hosted in Bhutan for the second time. He is both the past and current member of numerous professional committees- the Review Panel Member for Bhutan Education Blueprint (2014-2024), Tertiary Education Roadmap for Bhutan (2015-2025), and University Organisational Development Exercise team, amongst many other achievements. He also consistently contributes to the development of university sports in his capacity as the General Secretary of the Bhutan University Sports Federation

Matthew J Schuelka, University of Minnesota

Matt is a Lecturer of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development in the College of Education and Human Development; as well as a researcher at the Institute on Community Integration; at the University of Minnesota (USA). He is also Founder and CEO of Fora Education, a non-profit consulting firm focused on global issues of inclusion and sustainability in education.




How to Cite

Sherab K, Schuelka MJ. Perceptions of Youth with Disabilities in Bhutan on Family Support, Attitudes, and Encouragement towards Meaningful Community Engagement: Implications for Parental Self-Efficacy . DCIDJ [Internet]. 2023 Oct. 18 [cited 2024 May 21];34(2):27-45. Available from:



Original Research Articles