Conceptualising factors contributing to positive relationships between Disability Support Workers and Disabled People in Canterbury


Research Framework

Creating an Enabling Society


Many disabled people require disability support workers (DSWs) to perform daily tasks and participate in the community. These relationships are essential for disabled people to live a meaningful life. While the benefits of positive DSW relationships are becoming increasing understood, little attention has focused on the specific factors and contexts that influence the quality of these relationships. To address this challenge this study aims to understand factors influencing the quality of DSW relationships, and how the context in which DSW relationships are provided impacts on outcomes. Data will be collected via several workshops with disabled people, their whānau, DSWs and service providers. A clearer understanding of ‘what works’ for both disabled people and DSW can help target resources and funding for effective provision of disability support services.


This study will employ realist methods involving a participatory approach to coproduce meaning and knowledge to understand factors contributing to quality DSW-DP relationships.


The Canterbury Medical Research Foundation – Emerging Researcher Fellowship

Status of Research

  • Ethics approval complete
  • Recuitment underway – See video and letter below for details for how to participate
  • First round of Focus groups complete
  • Second round of Focus groups complete

Sharing our stories_CMRF research study invitation


Key Contact

Dr Johnny Bourke,
Burwood Academy
Phone:  +64 3 383 6871

Researchers and Collaborators

Julianne Johns
Research Assistant
Burwood Academy
Phone:  +64 3 383 6871

Dr Rachelle Martin,
Burwood Academy
Phone:  +64 3 383 6871
Mobile:  +64 21 223 3362