Kanako Iwanaga, Ph.D., CRC, LPC

Kanako Iwanaga
Title: Assistant Professor
Division: Interdisciplinary Health Professions
Unit: Rehabilitation Counseling
Office Location: Wirtz 323F
Office Phone: 815-753-5148
Email: kiwanaga@niu.edu
Office Hours: By appointment

Frequently Taught Courses

  • REHB 482: Employment Services in Vocational Rehabilitation
  • REHB 493: Counseling in Rehabilitation Services


  • Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison, Rehabilitation Counselor Education
  • M.S., University of Wisconsin-Madison, Rehabilitation Counseling (CACREP accredited)
  • M.S., University of Tsukuba, Rehabilitation Science
  • B.A., Waseda University, Human Sciences

Professional License and Certifications 

  • Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC)
  • Professional Counselor Training License in Wisconsin (LPC)

Academic/Research Interests

  • Positive psychology (self-determination theory, self-efficacy theory, PERMA [Positive Emotion, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, and Accomplishment], and mindfulness)
  • Health promotion
  • Demand-side employment
  • Secondary transition and post secondary education

Professional Services

  • Book Review Editor, Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin, 2017-Present
  • Ad Hoc Reviewer, Journal of Applied Rehabilitation Counseling, 2016-Present
  • Ad Hoc Reviewer, Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin, 2017-Present
  • Ad Hoc Reviewer, Australian Journal of Rehabilitation Counselling, 2018-Present

Selected Publications

Tu, W. M., Pfaller, J., Iwanaga, K., Chan, F., Strauser, D., Wang, M. H., & Ditchman, N. (2018). A psychometric validation of the Employers’ Stigmatizing Attitudes toward Cancer Survivors Scale. Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation. Advance online publication. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10926-017-9746-6.

Iwanaga, K., Blake, J., Yaghmaian, R., Umucu, E., Chan, F., Brooks, J., Rahimi, M., & Tansey, T.  (2018). Development and validation of a short form Attachment Style Questionnaire for use in clinical rehabilitation counseling practice and research. Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin, 61(4), 205–216. DOI: 10.1177/0034355217709477.

Iwanaga, K., Wu, J. R., Chen, X., Lee, B., Reyes, A., Phillips, B., Pfaller, J., & Chan, F. (2018). Person-environment contextual factors as mediators for the relationship between symptoms cluster and employment outcome in multiple sclerosis. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 48, 197-206.

Leahy, M. J., Del Valle, J., Landon, T. J., Iwanaga, K., Sherman, S. G., Reyes, A., & Chan, F. (2018). Promising and evidence-based practices in vocational rehabilitation: Results of a national Delphi study. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 48, 37-48.

Lee, B., Iwanaga, K., Pfaller, J., Chan, F., Chiu, C., Moser, E., & Rumrill, P. (2018). Psychometric validation of the multiple sclerosis environmental supports scale: A brief report. Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin, 61(3), 187–191. DOI:10.1177/0034355217734635

Tansey, T. N., Smedema, S., Umucu, E., Iwanaga, K., Wu, J. R., Cardoso, E., & Strauser, D. (2018). Assessing college life adjustment of students with disabilities: Application of the PERMA framework. Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin, 61(3), 131-142. DOI: 10.1177/0034355217702136.

Brooks, J., Iwanaga, K., Chiu, C. Y., Cotton, B., Deiches, J., Morrison, B.,…Chan, F. (2017). Relationships between self-determination theory and theory of planned behavior applied to physical activity and exercise behavior in chronic pain. Psychology, Health, & Medicine, 22, 814-822.

Chan, F., Tansey, T. N., Chronister, J., McMahon, T. B., Iwanaga, K., Wu, J. R., …Moser, E. (2017). Rehabilitation counseling practice in state vocational rehabilitation and the effect of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). Journal of Applied Rehabilitation Counseling, 48(3), 20-28.

Eagle, D., Chan, F., Iwanaga K., Reyes, A., Chiu, C. Y., Bezyak, J., Brooks, J., Keegan, J., & Muller, V. (2017). Health promotion theories and research: Implications for rehabilitation counseling practices. Australian Journal of Rehabilitation Counseling, 23(2), 98-117. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/jrc.2017.9

Iwanaga, K., Umucu, E., J. R., Wu, Yaghmaian, R., Lee, H. L., Fitzgerald, S., & Chan, F. (2017).  Assessing vocational outcome expectancy in individuals with serious mental illness: A factor-analytic approach. Journal of Mental Health. Advance online publication. DOI: 10.1080/09638237

Johnson, E. J., Chan, F., Kaseroff, A., Kriofske Mainella, A., Flowers, S., Morrison, B., Sung, C., Catalano, D., & Iwanaga, K. (2017). Psychosocial mechanisms explaining the association between spirituality and happiness in individuals with spinal cord injuries. Journal of Rehabilitation, 83(4), 34-42.

Muller, V., Peebles, M. C., Chiu, C. Y., Iwanaga, K., Tang, X., Brooks, J., Eagle, D., & Chan, F. (2017). Association between employment and health and well-being in fibromyalgia. Journal of Rehabilitation, 83(3), 37-43.

Tansey, T. N., Iwanaga, K., Bezyak, J., & Ditchman, N. (2017). Testing an integrated self-determined work motivation model for people with disabilities: A path analysis. Rehabilitation Psychology, 62(4), 534–544. . DOI: 10.1037/rep0000141.

Kaya, C., Chan, F., Rumrill, P., Hartman, E., Wehman, P., Iwanaga, K.,…Avellone, L. (2016). Vocational rehabilitation services and competitive employment for transition-age youth with autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 45, 73-83.

Sánchez,J., Pfaller, J., Sung, C., Bezyak, J., Iwanaga, K., Chen, S. M., & Chan, F. (2016). Psychometric validation of the Perceived Empathic and Social Self-Efficacy Scales for adults with severe mental illness: A confirmatory factor analysis. Australian Journal of Rehabilitation Counseling, 22(2), 135–146.

Umucu, E., Iwanaga, K., Fitzgerald, S., Thompson, K., Moser, E., Sánchez,J.,…Brooks. J. (2016). Assessing vocational competency of individuals with serious mental illness through self-report: A brief clinical measure. Journal of Applied Rehabilitation Counseling, 47(3), 22-28.

Fitzgerald, S., Chan, F., Deiches, J., Umucu, E., Hsu, S. T., Lee, H. L., Bezyak, J., & Iwanaga, K. (2015). Assessing work motivation in people with severe mental illness: A factor-analytic approach. Australian Journal of Rehabilitation Counseling, 21, 123-136.

Yaeda, J., Iwanaga, K., Fujikawa, M., Chan, F., & Bezyak, J. (2015). The use of evidence-based practice among Japanese vocational rehabilitation professionals. Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin, 58, 70-79.

Book Chapters

Yaghmaian, R., Iwanaga, K, Wu, J. R., Chen, X., Umucu, E., Tao, J., Livneh, H., & Chan, F. (in press). Reducing prejudice toward people with disabilities. In D. Dunn (Ed.), Disability: social psychological perspectives (pp. xx-xx). New York: Oxford University Press.

Brooks, J., Iwanaga, K., & Chan, F. (2017). Arthritis self-management. In E. Martz (Eds.), Promoting self-management of chronic impairments: Theories and practice (pp. 171-198). New York: Oxford University Press.

Chan, F., Iwanaga, K., Umucu, E., Yaghmaian, R., Wu, J. R., Bengtson, K., & Chen, A. (2017). Evidence-based practice and research utilization. In V. M. Tarvydas & M. T. Hartley (Eds.), The professional practice of rehabilitation counseling (2nd ed., pp. 359-380). New York: Springer Publishing Company.

Sung, C., Brooks, J., Muller, V., Iwanaga, K., Chan, F., & Strand, D. (2017). Employment and career development. In F. Chan, M. Bishop, J. Chronister, E. J. Lee, & C.Y. Chiu (Eds.), Certified rehabilitation counselor examination preparation: A concise guide to the foundations of rehabilitation counseling (2nd ed., pp. 95-132). New York: Springer Publishing Company.

Chan, F., Keegan, J., Muller, V., Kaya, C., Flowers, S., & Iwanaga, K. (2016). Evidence-based practice and research in rehabilitation counseling. In I. Marini & M. A. Stebnicki (Eds.), The professional counselor's desk reference (2nd ed., pp. 605-610). New York: Springer Publishing Company.