Jump to Content Jump to Main Navigation

Psychology Rehabilitation Psychology
by
Dana S. Dunn

Introduction

Rehabilitation psychology is a subfield of psychology dedicated to developing therapeutic interventions aimed at promoting the health and well-being of people with disabilities and chronic health conditions or diseases. Rehabilitation psychologists apply and extend psychological knowledge toward ameliorating psychological, social, mental, psychiatric, environmental, and other challenges that prevent people with disabilities from leading meaningful, independent, and productive lives. Rehabilitation psychologists are therapists, educators, counselors, administrators, consultants, advocates, and researchers who possess a wide variety of training and skills, including knowledge of neuropsychology, that qualify them to work constructively with clients with disabilities or other chronic health conditions, their caregivers, and their families. This article opens with overviews of rehabilitation psychology and representative professional journals and websites. Subsequent sections provide sample references for research methodology and theory development, rehabilitation assessment, neuropsychology, and practice issues in rehabilitation. A section on selected chronic conditions reviews resources concerning brain injury, strokes, spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, limb amputations, and depression and its links to disability. A separate section considers issues connected with the treatment of children with disabilities. One of the largest areas of the rehabilitation literature concerns psychosocial issues. The references in this section examine the social psychology of disability, attitudes toward people with disabilities, attributions and adaptation issues, insider and outsider perspectives, social interactions between people with and without disabilities, value changes and the acceptance of disability, and positive psychology and its connections to and implications for rehabilitation psychology. Narratives on disability provide phenomenological accounts of what the experience of disability is actually like (as opposed to what it is presumed to be). The last section of this bibliography offers references on disabilities studies, an interdisciplinary area of inquiry with some promising connections to rehabilitation psychology.

General Overviews

What are the psychological implications of having a disability, whether that condition is congenital or acquired? What issues should psychologists and rehabilitation professionals attend to, whether they are conducting research, rehabilitation therapy, or some other form of practice? Nagler 1993 provides an interdisciplinary overview of disability. Frank and Elliott 2000 and Frank, et al. 2010 provide comprehensive overviews of rehabilitation psychology’s core and emerging subareas. Rohe 1998 provides a concise introduction to psychological issues pertaining to rehabilitative experiences. Although not current, the classic perspectives on physical disability presented in Wright 1983 have psychological relevance to other forms of disability. A general overview of disability from a psychological perspective can be found in Vash and Crewe 2004. Dunn 1994 contains articles from empirical and theoretical perspectives on psychological and social factors linked to disability.

  • Dunn, Dana S., ed. 1994. Special Issue: Psychosocial perspectives on disability. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality 9.5.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A book-length special issue of a journal examining a variety of psychosocial issues linked to issues in disability and rehabilitation. This special issue contains empirically based articles, theoretical pieces, and literature reviews.

    Find this resource:

  • Frank, Robert G., and Timothy R. Elliot. 2000. Handbook of rehabilitation psychology. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

    DOI: 10.1037/10361-000Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The first published comprehensive handbook reviewing the major areas of research and practice in rehabilitation psychology. The book covers common clinical conditions including spinal cord injury, limb amputation, traumatic brain injury, and stroke.

    Find this resource:

  • Frank, Robert G., Mitchell Rosenthal, and Bruce Caplan, eds. 2010. Handbook of rehabilitation psychology. 2d ed. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An updated version of the first handbook covering the major areas of research and practice in rehabilitation psychology. Besides reviewing rehabilitation research on established clinical conditions, it examines emerging areas, such as positive psychology and disability, as well as pediatric issues in rehabilitation.

    Find this resource:

  • Nagler, Mark, ed. 1993. Perspectives on disability. 2d ed. Palo Alto, CA: Health Market Research.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A collection of readings with sociological as well psychological relevance. The reprinted articles herein provide insight on what it means to be a person with a disability in light of social attitudes, encounters with non-disabled persons, family membership, sexuality, pursuing education and employment, legal matters, medical issues, and the experience of being perceived as different from others.

    Find this resource:

  • Rohe, David E. 1998. Psychological aspects of rehabilitation. In Rehabilitation medicine: Principles and practice. 3d ed. Edited by Joel A. DeLisa and Bruce Gans, 189–212. Philadelphia: Lippincott-Raven.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A broad but concise overview of psychological aspects of rehabilitation.

    Find this resource:

  • Vash, Carolyn L., and Nancy M. Crewe. 2004. Psychology of disability. 2d ed. New York: Springer.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This textbook provides a solid introduction to the psychology of disability, highlighting the impact of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the changing nature of health care, and the role of technology, racial and ethnic diversity, as well as spirituality, among people with disabilities.

    Find this resource:

  • Wright, Beatrice A. 1983. Physical disability: A psychosocial approach. 2d ed. New York: Harper & Row.

    DOI: 10.1037/10589-000Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A classic overview of key psychosocial factors influencing the experience of physical disability. The book provides a positive and constructive framework for working with people with disabilities, their caregivers, and their families. The text offers clinical as well as research-based insights that inform research and practices.

    Find this resource:

Journals

There are many journals in psychology, rehabilitation, and even medicine that publish research dealing with topics germane to rehabilitation psychology. Rehabilitation Psychology is dedicated to sharing contemporary research that informs the work of both rehabilitation researchers and practitioners. The Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation takes a somewhat broader view, publishing research and clinical reports of interest to psychological, medical, and rehabilitative researchers. Brain Injury emphasizes research and practice concerning children and adults with traumatic brain injuries. The International Journal of Rehabilitation Research shares research on people who are living with disabilities in developed and developing societies. Although its content is less focused on psychology per se, the Journal of Disability Policy Studies contains articles that have implications for ethical, legal, and policy matters pertaining to people with disabilities. The Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation emphasizes research and clinical practice issues concerning head injury. The Multiple Sclerosis Journal publishes research and some therapeutic work on this disease of the central nervous system. Stroke is a multidisciplinary journal dedicated to examining cerebral circulation problems and diseases. Research- and practice-oriented material aimed at educational and counseling issues appears in the Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin. Topics in Spinal Cord Rehabilitation reviews practice, patient care, and new information on the treatment of spinal cord injuries.

Data Sources for Clients and Practitioners

There are many websites that provide information for rehabilitation professionals or clients who are seeking or receiving rehabilitation therapy. The Division 22 website is a hub for information science, practice, and training issues, and it has links to many other websites pertaining to disability and rehabilitation issues. The American Heart Association website provides basic information on cardiovascular issues. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) clarified the rights of people with disabilities in the United States. The Americans with Disabilities Act Document Center website is a source for documents pertaining to this historic legislation. The Disability Social History Project website is designed to provide a variety of historical sources grounded in the perspective provided by disability studies. The National Center for Rehabilitation Research and the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research both provide a wide range of materials for improving the life, health, and well-being of people with disabilities and their families. PsycBITE is an Australian website that provides resources regarding the treatment of brain impairment issues.

Research Methods and Theory Development

In general, rehabilitation psychologists have focused most on research tools and techniques that will help their clients function successfully in performing activities of daily life. Advancing rehabilitation theory or developing new research methods have been of less concern. Increasingly, however, rehabilitation psychologists are concerned about the potential beneficial impact of new theories and methods on their work with clients and their families. Much of the theory and research perspective in rehabilitation psychology has its historical roots in social psychology, notably in the work of Kurt Lewin and his students (e.g., Tamara Dembo). By endorsing the field’s interdisciplinary nature, Fenderson 1984 reveals research opportunities for interested psychologists, while Stubbins 1989 suggests that disability research can be improved if a more sociopolitical agenda is followed. Gill, et al. 2003 and Tate and Pledger 2003 suggest that researchers move away from the established rehabilitation research paradigm in favor of a new one that is more focused on the needs and experiences of people with disabilities. Chwalisz and Chan 2008 is an edited collection of articles designed to advance methodology and rigor in rehabilitation research. One of the articles from this special issue is Dunn and Elliott 2008, which argues that theories and theory development are essential to research in rehabilitation psychology.

  • Chwalisz, Kathleen, and Fong Chan, eds. 2008. Special Issue: Research and methodological advances in rehabilitation psychology. Rehabilitation Psychology 53.3.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This special issue of Rehabilitation Psychology examines new theoretical and methodological developments designed to improve the rigor of research design.

    Find this resource:

  • Dunn, Dana S., and Timothy R. Elliott. 2008. The place and promise of theory in rehabilitation psychology research. Rehabilitation Psychology 53:254–267.

    DOI: 10.1037/a0012962Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article proposes that theories and theory-driven research are needed and useful in advancing the science of rehabilitation psychology.

    Find this resource:

  • Fenderson, Douglas A. 1984. Opportunities for psychologists in disability research. American Psychologist 39:524–528.

    DOI: 10.1037/0003-066X.39.5.524Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Rehabilitation psychology is an interdisciplinary subfield, one that offers research opportunities for psychologists who have a variety of interests. This article identifies areas of potential opportunity and federal support in rehabilitation research.

    Find this resource:

  • Gill, Carol J., Donald G. Kewman, and Ruth W. Brannon. 2003. Transforming psychological practice and society: Policies that reflect the new paradigm. American Psychologist 58:305–312.

    DOI: 10.1037/0003-066X.58.4.305Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The authors of this article advocate that psychology embrace a social model of rehabilitation research that is conducted by as well as for people with disabilities and acknowledges the sociopolitical marginalization they have experienced. Consulting, advocacy, and training issues are also discussed.

    Find this resource:

  • Stubbins, Joseph. 1989. The interdisciplinary status of rehabilitation psychology. Rehabilitation Psychology 34:207–215.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This somewhat polemical piece nonetheless has helpful advice for rehabilitation researchers, in that the author argues that too much emphasis is placed on viewing disability as linked to individual dynamics or even traits. The author suggests researchers would do well to think about disability in light of social problems and obstacles in the environment, and as a matter of civil rights.

    Find this resource:

  • Tate, Denise G., and Constance Pledger. 2003. An integrative conceptual framework of disability: New directions for research. American Psychologist 58:289–295.

    DOI: 10.1037/0003-066X.58.4.289Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Advocates new research directions concerning socio-ecological perspectives of rehabilitation, including client-driven research, technological innovation, and an increased focus on life-span concerns.

    Find this resource:

Assessment

How do rehabilitation psychologists measure the need for and type of rehabilitation required by persons with disabilities? One way to begin the rehabilitative processes by using psychometrically reliable and valid assessment measures. Frequently, rehabilitation psychologists need to rely on some nonstandard methods because the presence of a disability can introduce “noise”—that is, measurement error—into assessment results. Cushman and Scherer 1995 provides an overview of rehabilitation assessment for physical disabilities among adults. Heinemann and Mallinson 2010 reviews measures of functional status and quality of life. Assessment for aging populations is the topic explored by Lichtenberg and Schneider 2010.

  • Cushman, Laura A., and Marcia Scherer, eds. 1995. Psychological assessment in medical rehabilitation settings. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

    DOI: 10.1037/10175-000Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This book focuses on ways to use psychological assessment of adults with physical disabilities in rehabilitation settings. Specifically discusses special testing issues when assessing people with disabilities.

    Find this resource:

  • Heinemann, Allen W., and Trudy Mallinson. 2010. Functional status and quality-of-life measures. In Handbook of rehabilitation psychology. 2d ed. Edited by Robert G. Frank, Mitchell Rosenthal, and Bruce Caplan, 147–164. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This chapter contains an overview of measures designed to assess quality of life and functional status instruments that are applicable for use with people in need of rehabilitation or who have chronic illnesses.

    Find this resource:

  • Lichtenberg, Peter A., and Brooke C. Schneider. 2010. Psychological assessment and practice in geriatric rehabilitation. In Handbook of rehabilitation psychology. 2d ed. Edited by Robert G. Frank, Mitchell Rosenthal, and Bruce Caplan, 95–106. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This chapter addresses the geriatric assessment needs associated with the aging of the US population. Besides covering core assessment issues, the chapter also discusses common disorders found among aging clients.

    Find this resource:

Neuropsychology

The presence of various brain disorders, such as those caused by traumatic brain injury or stroke, necessitates the use of neuropsychological assessment to track loss of function, its magnitude, and its implication for daily living. Neuropsychological assessment involves reliance on psychological instruments to measure people’s perceptual, cognitive, and motor performance to document the extent and location of sustained brain damage. Neuropsychological evaluations are very useful for predicting rehabilitation outcomes and as a means of documenting the impact of therapeutic interventions. An overview of the practical practice-oriented issues in working with persons with brain injuries is presented in Prigatano 1999. Four key principles of neuropsychological rehabilitation are advanced in Prigatano 2000. Lezak, et al. 2004 provides a comprehensive overview of issues in practicing empirically based assessment. Novak, et al. 2010 explains the use of neuropsychological assessment procedures in predicting patient outcomes. Wilson 2005 provides an in-depth overview of neuropsychological rehabilitation and assessment issues.

  • Lezak, Muriel Deutsch, Diane B. Howieson, David W. Loring, H. J. Hannay, and J. S. Fisher. 2004. Neuropsychological assessment. 4th ed. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A current perspective on brain-behavior relationships highlighting neuropsychological disorders, diagnostic matters, and assessment practices and procedures. The book is designed to help practice-focused professionals perform empirically guided psychological assessment.

    Find this resource:

  • Novak, Thomas A., Mark Sherer, and Suzanne Penna. 2010. Neuropsychological practice in rehabilitation. In Handbook of rehabilitation psychology. 2d ed. Edited by Robert G. Frank, Mitchell Rosenthal, and Bruce Caplan, 165–178. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An overview of neuropsychological assessment for use during inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation, with the goal of using such assessment to infer likely outcome.

    Find this resource:

  • Prigatano, George P. 1999. Principles of neuropsychological rehabilitation. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This book is designed to help practitioners work closely with clients with brain injuries, helping them to navigate the nature of the damage, as well as the subsequent confusion and frustration they encounter. Key topics include remediation of higher cerebral disturbances and coping with clients’ interpersonal challenges.

    Find this resource:

  • Prigatano, George. 2000. A brief overview of four principles of neuropsychological rehabilitation. In International handbook of neuropsychological rehabilitation. Edited by Anne-Lise Christensen and Barbara P. Uzzell, 115–125. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Drawn from a larger set of principles, the core four presented here cover phenomenological experiences of patients, remediation of higher cerebral disturbances, recognition that turmoil in self-awareness is not well understood and often mismanaged, and the concept that patient management must entail focus on mechanisms of recovery and symptom change after brain injury.

    Find this resource:

  • Wilson, Barbara A. 2005. Neuropsychological rehabilitation: Theory and practice. London: Psychology Press.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This book examines theoretical and clinical approaches to neuropsychological assessment. Besides reviewing the respective literatures on specific cognitive deficits (e.g., attention, memory, language), one section of the book deals with the rehabilitation of behavioral, social, and emotional disorders. Another section examines delivery issues of neuropsychological rehabilitation.

    Find this resource:

Practice Issues

What topics do clinical and counseling psychologists need to know about in order to work effectively with people with disabilities? Working with people with disabilities poses particular challenges for practitioners. Some challenges are related to psychosocial adjustment and loss of function, while others are linked to altered social relationships, identities, and the ability to navigate the physical and social environment. Peterson and Elliott 2008 describes current issues and opportunities for psychologists who want to do therapeutic work on disability. Livneh and Antonak 2005 offers a brief overview of key issues counselors should know about when beginning work with people with disabilities. Martz and Livneh 2007 offers guidance for practitioners who want to understand how people with disabilities cope with their experiences, as well as how to intervene in order to promote coping or adjustment.

  • Livneh, Hanoch, and Richard F. Antonak. 2005. Psychological adaptation to chronic illness and disability: A primer for counselors. Journal of Counseling and Development 83:12–20.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article reviews three key issues for practitioners as they counsel people with disabilities: dynamic of adaptation, assessment issues, and intervention approaches.

    Find this resource:

  • Martz, Elin, and Hanoch Livneh, eds. 2007. Coping with chronic illness and disability: Theoretical, empirical and clinical aspects. New York: Springer.

    DOI: 10.1007/978-0-387-48670-3Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Written for rehabilitation specialists, including psychologists and counselors, this book contains recent research examining coping styles and psychosocial strategies used by people who have chronic illnesses and disabilities. Contains discussion of disabilities including spinal cord injury and traumatic brain injuries.

    Find this resource:

  • Peterson, David B., and Timothy R. Elliott. 2008. Advances in conceptualizing and studying disability. In Handbook of counseling psychology. 4th ed. Edited by Steven D. Brown and Robert W. Lent, 212–230. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Besides offering new perspectives on disability, this chapter describes new challenges and unexpected opportunities for counseling psychologists who are interested in rehabilitation issues. Emphasis is placed on preparing the next generation of counseling psychologists to work with people with disabilities.

    Find this resource:

Rehabilitation of Selected Chronic Conditions

As both science and practice, rehabilitation psychology offers perspectives and guidance for treating a variety of chronic health-care conditions. Some conditions are acquired, while others are congenital. This section of the article covers representative conditions on which rehabilitation psychologists have conducted research. As a result of the involvement of the US armed forces in the Afghanistan and Iraq, traumatic brain injuries have become a common area of treatment. Stroke is an important and related area of rehabilitation research, as it represents another form of acquired brain injury. Spinal cord injuries pose particular challenges because people who are affected by them lose mobility. Psychologists continue to learn more about multiple sclerosis, a disease that is more common in women than men and manifests itself through a variety of symptoms. Limb amputations can occur because of disease, accident, or other trauma. It is also worth noting that across these categories polytraumas are increasing in importance, as are some sports-related injuries.

Brain Injury

More is being learned about traumatic brain injuries and rehabilitation as a result of sports-related brain injuries, as well as those sustained by combat forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. Common consequences of brain injury include attentional impairment, executive dysfunction, and general memory problems. Rosenthal, et al. 1999 and Ricker 2010 provide solid overviews of key issues regarding rehabilitation with adults and children who have traumatic brain injuries. Nayak, et al. 2000 examines the effects of music therapy on cooperation and mood changes among people with brain injuries, including stroke. Brenner, et al. 2009 explores the particular psychosocial impact of brain injuries acquired by military personnel.

  • Brenner, Lisa A., Rodney D. Vanderploeg, and Heidi Terrio. 2009. Assessment and diagnosis of mild traumatic brain injury, posttraumatic stress disorder, and other polytrauma conditions: Burden of adversity hypothesis. Rehabilitation Psychology 54.3: 239–246.

    DOI: 10.1037/a0016908Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Reviews emotional and physical trauma of military personnel returning from Afghanistan and Iraq, highlighting challenges in assessing and intervening when posttraumatic stress (PTSD) and/or a history of mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) is present. Early screening is recommended to deal with the burden of adversity carried by military personnel.

    Find this resource:

  • Nayak, Sangeetha, Barbara L. Wheeler, Samuel C. Shiflett, and S. Agostinelli. 2000. Effects of music therapy on mood and social interaction among individuals with acute traumatic brain injury and stroke. Rehabilitation Psychology 45.3: 274–283.

    DOI: 10.1037/0090-5550.45.3.274Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Reviews an experimental design in which participants with brain injury or stroke received music therapy as part of a rehabilitation regime or were assigned to a rehabilitation-only control group. Music therapy clients demonstrated greater cooperation and some self-reported and other-reported positive changes in mood compared to the control group.

    Find this resource:

  • Ricker, Joseph H. 2010. Traumatic brain injury in adults. In Handbook of rehabilitation psychology. 2d ed. Edited by Robert G. Frank, Mitchell Rosenthal, and Bruce Caplan, 43–62. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This chapter provides a broad overview of the epidemiology and injury factors, as well as rehabilitation issues and outcomes, associated with traumatic brain injury.

    Find this resource:

  • Rosenthal, Mitchell, Ernest Griffin, Jeffrey Kreutzer, and Brian Pentland, eds. 1999. Rehabilitation of the adult and child with traumatic brain injury. 3d ed. Philadelphia: Davis.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This book is considered a standard work for evaluating and treating people during brain injury rehabilitation.

    Find this resource:

Stroke

A stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain ruptures, thereby preventing oxygen from reaching affected areas of the brain. Caplan 2010 is a comprehensive introduction to key issues in performing rehabilitation and neuropsychological assessment following such cerebrovascular accidents. Lindley 2008 provides a brief review of the need for stroke rehabilitation. Psychological variables related to coping with stroke include self-esteem, as examined by Vickery, et al. 2009, and quality of life, as shown by Tyedin, et al. 2010. Landreville, et al. 2009 considers whether stroke is sufficient to lead to depressive symptoms or whether people’s resulting behavioral limitations are actually a possible cause. Huijben-Schoenmakers, et al. 2009 raises concern regarding how much time people who have had a stroke spend outside rehabilitation therapy disengaged from mental, physical, or social activities. Perrin, et al. 2010 suggests that rehabilitation professionals should attend to the cultural backgrounds of stroke caregivers in order to assess their mental health.

  • Caplan, Bruce. 2010. Rehabilitation psychology and neuropsychology with stroke patients. In Handbook of rehabilitation psychology. 2d ed. Edited by Robert G. Frank, Mitchell Rosenthal, and Bruce Caplan, 63–94. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This chapter reviews the causes, onset, and impact of stroke on clients and their families. It also reviews the medical and rehabilitation matters, including assessment and treatment, following cerebrovascular events.

    Find this resource:

  • Huijben-Schoenmakers, Marleen, Claudia Gamel, and Thóra B. Hafsteindottir. 2009. Filling up the hours: How do stroke patients in a rehabilitation nursing home spend the day? Clinical Rehabilitation 23:1145–1150.

    DOI: 10.1177/0269215509341526Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Finds that stroke patients in rehabilitation settings spend the most of their days alone and in passive activities.

    Find this resource:

  • Landreville, Philippe, Johanne Desrosiers, Claude Vincent, René Verrault, Véronique Bouderault, and the Brad Group. 2009. The role of activity restriction in poststroke depressive symptoms. Rehabilitation Psychology 54:315–322.

    DOI: 10.1037/a0016572Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    To date, not much is known about the nature of depression following stroke. This study of poststroke patients suggests that depression following stroke may be caused by the restriction of familiar and routine activities rather than by the stroke itself.

    Find this resource:

  • Lindley, Richard I. 2008. Stroke rehabilitation. Brain Impairment 9:97–102.

    DOI: 10.1375/brim.9.2.97Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A brief account of the need for stroke rehabilitation. The author offers suggestions for reducing the incidence of stroke and promoting professional advocacy for stroke rehabilitation.

    Find this resource:

  • Perrin, Paul B., Martin Heesacker, C. E. Uthe, and Maude R. Rittman. 2010. Caregiver mental health and racial/ethnic disparities in stroke: Implications for culturally sensitive interventions. Rehabilitation Psychology 55:372–382.

    DOI: 10.1037/a0021486Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article suggests that important health-related information regarding the mental health of caregivers of stroke patients can be neglected if rehabilitation professionals overlook cultural, racial, and ethnic variables.

    Find this resource:

  • Tyedin, Karen, Toby B. Cumming, and Julie Bernhardt. 2010. Quality of life: An important outcome measure in a trial of very early mobilization after stroke. Disability and Rehabilitation: An International Multidisciplinary Journal 32:875–884.

    DOI: 10.3109/09638280903349552Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article suggests that starting early but active mobility activities among patients who are in the acute stages of stroke may yield important physical and psychological benefits where quality of life is concerned.

    Find this resource:

  • Vickery, Chad D., Arash Sepehri, Clea C. Evans, and Linsa N. Jabeen. 2009. Self-esteem level and stability, admission functional status, and depressive symptoms in acute inpatient stroke rehabilitation. Rehabilitation Psychology 54:432–439.

    DOI: 10.1037/a0017752Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This research found that self-esteem may moderate the relationship between functional status following stroke and the level of depressive symptoms among patients undergoing rehabilitation. While this is suggestive, the authors note that further empirical support is needed.

    Find this resource:

Spinal Cord Injury

Spinal cord injuries generally result from physical traumas. Some spinal cord injuries lead to paraplegia, where complete or incomplete paralysis affects a person’s legs and trunk but not arms. Tetraplegia, also known as quadriplegia, involves partial or complete paralysis of the arms and legs from a spinal cord injury in the neck area. Such injuries introduce serious and permanent changes into the lives of those who experience the trauma, as well as those of their families and friends. People who have spinal cord injuries often experience motor, sensory, autonomic, and sexual challenges. Further, traumatic brain injury is a frequently overlooked comorbid problem associated with spinal cord injuries. Richards, et al. 2010 reviews current psychological and rehabilitative knowledge about spinal cord injuries, which has advanced considerably in the past several years. Although McMillen and Cook 2003 finds no corroborating evidence from family members of injured persons that positive by-products can follow spinal cord injuries, both White, et al. 2010 and Kortte, et al. 2010 identify positive psychosocial factors that do promote positive adaptation to the condition. Other research, such as Corcoran, et al. 1988, Frank, et al. 1987, and Frank, et al. 1986, has examined the interpersonal consequences of having non-disabled people interacting with and evaluate their feelings toward people with spinal cord injuries who appear to be depressed.

  • Corcoran, James R., Robert G. Frank, and Timothy R. Elliott. 1988. The interpersonal influence of depression following spinal cord injury: A methodological study. Journal of the Multihandicapped Person 1:161–174.

    DOI: 10.1007/BF01102621Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This study examined observers’ responses to a person with a spinal cord injury who portrayed a depressed or non-depressed demeanor. Participants who viewed the depressed demeanor had more negative moods and indicated more negative reaction to the actor than those who saw the non-depressed version.

    Find this resource:

  • Frank, Robert G., Timothy R. Elliott, Stephen A. Wonderlich, James R. Corcoran, Robert L. Umlauf, and Glenn S. Ashkanazi. 1987. Gender differences in the interpersonal response to depression and spinal cord injury. Cognitive Therapy and Research 11:437–448.

    DOI: 10.1007/BF01175354Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Participants listened to a tape of a person with a spinal cord injury (either a male or a female) present himself or herself in a depressed or non-depressed manner. Neither men nor women expressed different levels of attractiveness for the depressed presentation, but the male actor was rated as less attractive than the female actor.

    Find this resource:

  • Frank, Robert G., Stephen A. Wonderlich, James R. Corcoran, Robert L. Umlauf, Glenn H. Ashkanazi, M. Brownlee-Duffeck, and R. Wilson. 1986. Interpersonal response to spinal cord injury. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology 4:447–460.

    DOI: 10.1521/jscp.1986.4.4.447Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Two experiments examined interpersonal responses to taped depressed or non-depressed portrayals of spinal cord-injured persons. Professionals who worked with people with head injuries reported higher levels of depression after listening to the depressed tape than did professionals who worked with people with spinal injuries.

    Find this resource:

  • Kortte, Kathleen B., Mac Gilbert, Peter Gorman, and Stephen T. Wegener. 2010. Positive psychological variables in the prediction of life satisfaction after spinal cord injury. Rehabilitation Psychology 55:40–47.

    DOI: 10.1037/a0018624Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The results indicate that positive psychological factors do play an important role in subjective well-being after rehabilitation for spinal cord injury. The present findings offer ideas for developing future interventions designed to help individuals who experience spinal cord injury.

    Find this resource:

  • McMillen, J. Curtis, and Cynthia Loveland Cook. 2003. The positive by-products of spinal cord injury and their correlates. Rehabilitation Psychology 48:77–85.

    DOI: 10.1037/0090-5550.48.2.77Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Demonstrating positive outcomes following spinal cord injury is a challenge when asking family members to provide evidence for such benefits. The authors suggest that family members do not necessarily recognize such benefits, which means their psychological validity is difficult to prove.

    Find this resource:

  • Richards, J. Scott, Donald G. Kewman, E. Richardson, and P. Kennedy. 2010. Spinal cord injury. In Handbook of rehabilitation psychology. 2d ed. Edited by Robert G. Frank, Mitchell Rosenthal, and Bruce Caplan, 9–28. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This chapter reviews the recent changes in the care and outcome of persons with spinal cord injuries, highlighting injury characteristics, demographics and etiology of affected persons, psychosocial adjustment, intervention approaches, as well as vocational and educational approaches, and work with pediatric groups.

    Find this resource:

  • White, Brian, Simon Driver, and Ann Marie Warren. 2010. Resilience and indicators of adjustment during rehabilitation from spinal cord injury. Rehabilitation Psychology 55:23–32.

    DOI: 10.1037/a0018451Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article demonstrates that while resilience following spinal cord injury does not appear to change, other indicators of psychosocial adjustment do appear to improve during inpatient rehabilitation. Suggestions for improving prediction and promotion of resilience are considered.

    Find this resource:

Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is a chronic disease affecting the brain and spinal cord; it is marked by physical weakness, depression, sensation and vision deficits, and problems with speech and movement. Allen and Goreczny 1995 is a compact overview of this disease. Mattioli, et al. 2010 offers possible tools for improving psychological function in multiple sclerosis patients. Chiaravalloti and DeLuca 2010 focuses on cognitive issues and their link to psychosocial issues as well as psychological deficits associated with multiple sclerosis. The role and consequences of lowered self-awareness among persons with multiple sclerosis is the topic of Goverover, et al. 2009. Bishop, et al. 2008 examines the connection of subjective perceptions and psychosocial well-being with multiple sclerosis. Romberg, et al. 2008 demonstrates that positive mood is linked with less fatigue among multiple sclerosis clients during rehabilitation.

  • Allen, Daniel N., and Anthony J. Goreczny. 1995. Assessment and treatment of multiple sclerosis. In Handbook of health and rehabilitation psychology. Edited by Anthony J. Goreczny, 389–429. New York: Plenum.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An overview of medical and psychological information concerning multiple sclerosis.

    Find this resource:

  • Bishop, Malachy, Michael P. Frain, and Molly K. Tschopp. 2008. Self-management, perceived control, and subjective quality of life in multiple sclerosis: An exploratory study. Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin 52:46–56.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This study, which has counseling implications, explores the links among self-management, perceived control, and subjective quality of life among people with multiple sclerosis.

    Find this resource:

  • Chiaravalloti, Nancy D., and J. DeLuca. 2010. Cognition and multiple sclerosis: Assessment and treatment. In Handbook of rehabilitation psychology. 2d ed. Edited by Robert G. Frank, Mitchell Rosenthal, and Bruce Caplan, 133–144. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This chapter focuses on the cognitive consequences of multiple sclerosis, highlighting links to quality of life, emotions, and fatigue, as well as the psychological assessment and treatment of cognitive deficits.

    Find this resource:

  • Goverover, Yael, Nancy Chiaravalloti, Elizabeth Gaudino-Goering, Nancy Moore, and John DeLuca. 2009. The relationship among performance of instrumental activities of daily living, self-report of quality of life, and self-awareness of functional status in individuals with multiple sclerosis. Rehabilitation Psychology 54:60–68.

    DOI: 10.1037/a0014556Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A between-groups correlational study found that participants with multiple sclerosis had lower levels of self-awareness relative to healthy control group members. Positive links between self-awareness of functional status and performance of instrumental activities of daily living and quality of life suggests a role for awareness during rehabilitation.

    Find this resource:

  • Mattioli, Flavia, Chiara Stampatori, F. Bellomi, Ruggiero Capra, M. Rocca, and M. Filippi. 2010. Neuropsychological rehabilitation in adult multiple sclerosis. Neurological Sciences 31 Supplement 2: S271–S274.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article proposes methods for ameliorating neuropsychological deficits and reducing the incidence of depression among adult patients with multiple sclerosis.

    Find this resource:

  • Romberg, Anders, Juhani Ruutiainen, Pauli Puukka, and L. Poikkeus. 2008. Fatigue in multiple sclerosis patients during inpatient rehabilitation. Disability and Rehabilitation: An International Journal 30:1480–1485.

    DOI: 10.1080/09638280701623687Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Inpatient rehabilitation is found to decrease patient fatigue, perhaps by improving mood, among people with multiple sclerosis.

    Find this resource:

Limb Amputation

Whether through accident or disease or as a congenital condition, limb amputation can have an impact on psychological well-being. There is a high incidence of limb amputations among soldiers returning from war. Until relatively recently, however, little psychological research examined the impact of amputation on adjustment and well-being. Rybarczyk, et al. 2010 provides a comprehensive review of amputation adjustment studies appearing over the preceding decade. Dunn 1996 describes a questionnaire study examining the impact of positive meaning, optimism, and control on well-being following amputation. Unwin, et al. 2009 finds that psychosocial variables were the key predictors of adjustment post-amputation. Rajiv, et al. 2009 traces the changes in depression and anxiety levels across a three-year period post-amputation. A study comparing positive and negative appraisal processes among people with amputations is reported in Couture, et al. 2011.

  • Couture, Melanie, Johanne Desrosiers, and Chantal D. Caron. 2011. Cognitive appraisal and perceived benefits of dysvascular lower limb amputation: A longitudinal study. Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics 52:5–11.

    DOI: 10.1016/j.archger.2009.11.002Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This research compared the psychosocial adjustment of people who positively appraised their amputations with those who engaged in negative appraisal. The nature of perceived benefits associated with amputation was also studied.

    Find this resource:

  • Dunn, Dana S. 1996. Well-being following amputation: Salutary effects of positive meaning, optimism, and control. Rehabilitation Psychology 41:285–302.

    DOI: 10.1037/0090-5550.41.4.285Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article describes a questionnaire-based study where finding meaning following limb amputation was associated with fewer depressive symptoms. Optimistic personalities and perceived control also predicted less depression as well as higher levels of self-esteem.

    Find this resource:

  • Rajiv, Rajiv, David Ripley, Brian Pentland, Todd Iain, John Hunter, Lynn Hutton, and Alistair Philip. 2009. Depression and anxiety symptoms after lower limb amputation: The rise and fall. Clinical Rehabilitation 23:281–286.

    DOI: 10.1177/0269215508094710Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This project traces depression and anxiety symptoms for three years following amputation. Although both symptoms are common after amputation, they tend to be resolved during inpatient rehabilitation, although the incidence can rise again after discharge.

    Find this resource:

  • Rybarczyk, Bruce, Jay Beehel, and Lynda Szymanski. 2010. Limb amputation. In Handbook of rehabilitation psychology. 2d ed. Edited by Robert G. Frank, Mitchell Rosenthal, and Bruce Caplan, 29–42. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This chapter reviews a broad range of international theoretical and empirical studies using quantitative and qualitative approaches to examining psychosocial adjustment to limb loss.

    Find this resource:

  • Unwin, Jennifer, Lynn Kacperek, and Chris Clarke. 2009. A prospective study of positive adjustment to lower limb amputation. Clinical Rehabilitation 23:1044–1050.

    DOI: 10.1177/0269215509339001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This prospective project examined the impact of amputation, demographic, and psychosocial variables on favorable psychological adjustment. Across time, psychosocial variables but not the other factors predicted positive adjustment.

    Find this resource:

Aging and Disability

Increased life-spans resulting from medical advances have consequences for aging populations, particularly if concomitant challenges are posed by the presence of various disabilities. Felsenthal, et al. 1994 considers rehabilitation in light of normal aging and the impact of chronic illness. Lichtenberg and MacNeill 2000 reviews particular issues of concern for rehabilitation psychologists who work with geriatric groups. Trieschmann 1987 offers a classic and comprehensive account of issues linked to aging with disability.

  • Felsenthal, Gerald, Susan J. Garrison, and Franz U. Steinberg. 1994. Rehabilitation of the aging and elderly patient. Philadelphia: Williams & Wilkens.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines rehabilitation issues among elderly persons whose functional loss is linked to normative aging or illness. Prevention and delaying placing elderly individuals in institutional settings are key features of this work.

    Find this resource:

  • Lichtenberg, Peter A., and Susan E. MacNeill. 2000. Geriatric issues. In Handbook of rehabilitation psychology. Edited by Robert G. Frank and Timothy R. Elliott, 109–122. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

    DOI: 10.1037/10361-000Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An overview of geriatric rehabilitation issues that highlights improving functional abilities and activities of daily living, as well as promoting independent living as much as possible. Ways to appropriately link mental health outcomes to rehabilitation outcomes are also explored.

    Find this resource:

  • Trieschmann, Roberta B. 1987. Aging with a disability. New York: Demos.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An early and classic work detailing the challenges of the normal aging process considered in tandem with chronic disabilities.

    Find this resource:

Depression and Disability

Within the context of rehabilitation psychology, depression has been studied primarily in two ways: as a response to an acquired disability or chronic condition, and as a factor that elicits psychosocial reactions from others. The onset of depression can have a decided impact on clients’ willingness to participate as well as on their motivation for rehabilitation. It is important to note, as well, that some symptoms of “depression” may well be natural consequences of clients’ medical condition rather than actual depression. This fact means that rehabilitation professionals need to consider the onset and course of depression in the presence of disability, as well as the presence of any complicating factors. Caplan and Shechter 1987 discusses identifying the distinction between depression and denial. Elliott and Frank 1996 reviews the challenges of distinguishing genuine depression from other negative affective conditions. Elliott, et al. 1992 finds that positive social relationships were associated with lower incidence of depression in a sample of people with spinal cord injuries. Elliott and Frank 1989 and Elliott and Frank 1990 demonstrate that depressive behavior in people with disabilities elicited more negative reactions than did their disabilities alone. In related research, Elliott, et al. 1990 reports that prior personal experience with disability did not reduce negative reactions when depressive behavior was shown by target individuals. Rosenthal, et al. 1998 explores depression among persons with traumatic brain injury, while Gordon and Hibbard 1997 considers the difficulties posed by post-stroke depression, notably the lack of work on treatment issues. Olkin 2001 offers helpful insights on doing therapy with people with disabilities, including those who may be depressed or have depressive symptoms.

  • Caplan, Bruce, and J. Shechter. 1987. Denial and depression in disabling illness. In Rehabilitation psychology desk reference. Edited by Bruce Caplan, 133–170. Rockville, MD: Aspen Systems Corporation.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Discusses ways for clinical and counseling psychologists to distinguish between actual depression and psychological denial.

    Find this resource:

  • Elliott, Timothy R., and Robert G. Frank. 1989. Social-cognitive responses to depression and physical stigma. Journal of the Multihandicapped Person 2:211–223.

    DOI: 10.1007/BF01100092Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article describes an experiment in which participants viewed and subsequently rated a person with a disability or a non-disabled person who acted in a depressed or a non-depressed manner. Regardless of physical condition, the depressed person received more negative evaluations.

    Find this resource:

  • Elliott, Timothy R., and Robert G. Frank. 1990. Social and interpersonal responses to depression and disability. Rehabilitation Psychology 35:135–147.

    DOI: 10.1037/h0079058Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Describes an experiment in which participants observed an interview with a person with a physical disability who acted in depressed or non-depressed manner. The person received more favorable ratings when a disability was apparent, and participants had strong negative reactions to depressive displays regardless of the presence or absence of disability.

    Find this resource:

  • Elliott, Timothy R., and Robert G. Frank. 1996. Depression following spinal cord injury. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 77.8: 816–823.

    DOI: 10.1016/S0003-9993(96)90263-4Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article suggests that researchers and practitioners should exert efforts to distinguish depression from other forms of negative affect, including dysphoria, distress, and anxiety, within rehabilitation settings.

    Find this resource:

  • Elliott, Timothy R., Robert G. Frank, James Corcoran, Lisa Beardon, and E. K. Byrd. 1990. Previous personal experience and reactions to depression and physical disability. Rehabilitation Psychology 35.2: 111–120.

    DOI: 10.1037/h0079050Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Two experiments demonstrate that prior personal experience with people with disabilities does not moderate negative reactions when depressive behavior is expressed.

    Find this resource:

  • Elliott, Timothy R., Stephen M. Herrick, E. Thomas, Frank Godshall, and M. Spruell. 1992. Social support and depression following spinal cord injury. Rehabilitation Psychology 37:37–48.

    DOI: 10.1037/h0079091Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This study explored links between different social relationships and depressive actions among a group of adults with acquired spinal cord injuries. Lower depression was observed in people who were in relationships that reassured them of their worth as individuals and, to a lesser degree, in those in relationships that promoted social integration.

    Find this resource:

  • Gordon, Wayne, and Mary Hibbard. 1997. Post-stroke depression: An examination of the literature. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 78:658–663.

    DOI: 10.1016/S0003-9993(97)90433-0Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Post-stroke depression is a challenging condition to study. An exhaustive review of the literature reveals its etiology and that it is both complex and little understood. Despite an abundant amount of research on its prevalence, there is little research focused on treatment.

    Find this resource:

  • Olkin, Rhoda. 2001. What psychotherapists should know about disability. New York: Guilford.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A helpful book designed to provide therapists with an insider’s view of disability so that they will competently and confidently be able to interact with and appropriately counsel clients. Special concern is given to diagnosis, which makes the work relevant to understanding depression.

    Find this resource:

  • Rosenthal, Mitchell, Bruce K. Christensen, and Thomas P. Ross. 1998. Depression following traumatic brain injury. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 79:90–103.

    DOI: 10.1016/S0003-9993(98)90215-5Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Suggests that depression is a common consequence following traumatic brain injury, one that can impede optimal functional outcomes. Depression in such situation is triggered by neuroanatomy issues, neurochemical matters, and psychosocial variables; it can be combated with psychopharmacological methods, including antidepressants.

    Find this resource:

Children With Disabilities

Among children, some disabilities are congenital while others are acquired, which means that a given disability can lead to different implications regarding outcomes. Health and medical advances have reduced mortality rates among children with disabilities, yet as Wagner, et al. 2010 demonstrates, rehabilitation with children requires attending to particular psychosocial concerns. Wade and Walz 2010 proposes that rehabilitation professionals need to involve the family, school, and wider community in the rehabilitation process. Olkin 1997 links the rehabilitation of children with disabilities to the importance of considering their rights as humans.

  • Olkin, Rhoda. 1997. Human rights of children with disabilities. Women and Therapy 20:29–42.

    DOI: 10.1300/J015v20n02_03Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article proposes thirteen human rights tied to children with disabilities. The author advocates a non-pathologizing model for understanding children with disabilities wherein resiliency is emphasized.

    Find this resource:

  • Wade, Shari L., and Nicolay C. Walz. 2010. Family, school, and community: Their role in the rehabilitation of children. In Handbook of rehabilitation psychology. 2d ed. Edited by Robert G. Frank, Mitchell Rosenthal, and Bruce Caplan, 345–354. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This chapter argues that children’s successful rehabilitation is linked to the systems found in families, schools, and communities. Family adaptation, too, is key, as well as recognition that different disabilities, their etiology and prognosis, will also affect outcomes.

    Find this resource:

  • Wagner, Janelle, Kevin A. Hommel, L. L. Mullins, and John M. Chaney. 2010. Rehabilitation in pediatric chronic illness: Juvenile rheumatic diseases as an exemplar. In Handbook of rehabilitation psychology. 2d ed. Edited by Robert G. Frank, Mitchell Rosenthal, and Bruce Caplan, 337–344. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Medical advances have led to a greater incidence of numerous pediatric health conditions. To demonstrate the dynamic systems view needed, the authors use juvenile rheumatic diseases as a model for illustrating the medical and psychosocial factors that influence pediatric rehabilitation.

    Find this resource:

Psychosocial Issues in Disability and Rehabilitation

Rehabilitation psychologists have long been concerned with what psychological and social influences affect living with a disability. This concern assumes that the behavioral differences disabilities pose for affected people are largely due to environmental variables, including other people and their reactions to the disability, and not to the disability itself. Research on the Social Psychology of Disability considers how situational factors influence the behavior of people with disabilities and how observers (non-disabled others) respond to them. The study of Attitudes Toward People with Disabilities generally finds that observers evaluate disability negatively, a fact that poses problems for social interaction. The Attributions, Disability, and Adaptation—causal explanations—people create to explain their disabilities can be linked to how well they adapt to their circumstances. One approach to understanding the phenomenological experience of disability is to compare and contrast the views of insiders (people with disabilities) with those offered by outsiders (non-disabled persons) (see Insider-Outsider Perspectives), as the latter routinely, and often erroneously, assume the former are preoccupied by the disability. Many outsiders incorrectly assume that most behavior exhibited by people with disabilities is somehow driven or motivated by their condition. The presence of a disability has also been found to have a profound effect on the quality of social interaction that occurs between people with and without disabilities. Social skills and assertiveness training, for example, can promote better social interactions between people with and without disabilities. Acceptance of a disability is presumed to promote psychological well-being, and this process of adaptation may occur when people with disabilities change their values to align with the disability. Positive psychology is focused on cultivating human strengths, a quality making it highly relevant to the research and practice goals of rehabilitation psychology.

Social Psychology of Disability

The social psychology of disability examines the person in the situation—here, the subjective experiences of people with disabilities as they negotiate life in a largely non-disabled world. This topic area also examines the perceptions that non-disabled persons hold about people with disabilities. Meyerson 1948a, Meyerson 1948b, and Barker, et al. 1953 present the groundbreaking view that adjustment to disability is best understood as a psychosocial matter. Kutner 1971 advances this view and introduces the issue of disability status. Meyerson 1988 reflects on changes in the understanding of the social psychology of disability. Dunn 2009 offers practical advice for teaching about social psychological concepts regarding disability. Dunn 2010 links established concepts from the social psychology of disability to the contemporary psychological literature. Smedema, et al. 2009 explores psychosocial models that incorporate social psychological factors in understanding how people adjust to disabilities.

  • Barker, Roger G., Beatrice A. Wright, Lee Meyerson, and M. R. Gonick. 1953. Adjustment to physical handicap and illness: A survey of the social psychology of physique and disability. 2d ed. New York: Social Science Research Council.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A classic piece of research positing that adjustment to physical disabilities (“handicap” in the parlance of the time) is linked to social behavior and personality factors, not to the nature of the disability per se.

    Find this resource:

  • Dunn, Dana S. 2009. Teaching about disability: Cultures of experience, not expectation. In Getting culture? Incorporating diversity across the curriculum. Edited by Regan A. R. Gurung and Loreto Prieto, 101–114. New York: Stylus.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    How can teachers present helpful information regarding disability? This chapter offers the perspective that non-disabled observers should avoid allowing their (often negative) expectations about the nature of disability to prevent their acquiring a more accurate view of what the experience of disability is actually like.

    Find this resource:

  • Dunn, Dana S. 2010. The social psychology of disability. In Handbook of rehabilitation psychology. 2d ed. Edited by Robert G. Frank, Mitchell Rosenthal, and Bruce Caplan, 379–390. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This chapter describes how amputations, brain injuries, spinal cord damage, multiple sclerosis, mental illness, and other disabilities affect people psychosocially. Social psychological processes linked to disability involve social perception, emotion, and judgment, as well as behavior, all of which are expressed by both the perceiver (non-disabled persons) and the perceived (persons with a disability).

    Find this resource:

  • Kutner, Bernard. 1971. The social psychology of disability. In Rehabilitation psychology. Edited by Walter S. Neff, 143–167. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

    DOI: 10.1037/10043-000Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines the status of people with physical disabilities as individuals within our society. Topics considered include assessing and changing attitudes, the challenge of dependency, and the maneuvering in a sometimes constraining physical environment.

    Find this resource:

  • Meyerson, Lee. 1948a. Physical disability as a social psychological problem. Journal of Social Issues 4:2–10.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-4560.1948.tb01513.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Explores physique as a social as well as biological quality, one that triggers negative judgments by observers and people with disabilities themselves. Disability is represented not as a personal problem or condition but as one that is rooted in the social world.

    Find this resource:

  • Meyerson, Lee, ed. 1948b. Special Issue: The social psychology of physical disability. Journal of Social Issues 4.4.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This is a historically important special issue of this journal, devoted to exploring social psychological factors related to the experience and welfare of people with disabilities.

    Find this resource:

  • Meyerson, Lee. 1988. The social psychology of physical disability: 1948 and 1988. Journal of Social Issues 44:173–188.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-4560.1988.tb02056.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A recent reflection on the ways that understanding of the social psychology of disability has evolved over a forty-year period. Variables that may shed light on psychosocial processes are also discussed.

    Find this resource:

  • Smedema, Susan Miller, Shana K. Bakken-Gillen, and Jacquelyn Dalton. 2009. Psychosocial adaptation to chronic illness and disability. In Understanding psychosocial adjustment to chronic illness and disability: A handbook for evidence-based practitioners in rehabilitation. Edited by Fong Chan, Elizabeth DaSilva Cardoso, and Julie Chronister, 51–73. New York: Springer.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This chapter reviews commonly used models for exploring adaptation to chronic health conditions, including disability. Adaptation is construed as a dynamic process that occurs across time rather than a static goal one reaches.

    Find this resource:

Attitudes Toward People with Disabilities

Attitudes comprise thought, feelings, and behaviors. In general, the attitude literature in rehabilitation psychology suggests that non-disabled persons hold negative attitudes toward people with disabilities. Yuker 1988 provides broad background and various research approaches to this issue. Yuker 1994 suggests that attitude research will benefit from examining the expectations and consequences of meaningful interaction between persons with disabilities and non-disabled people. Antonak and Livneh 2000 provides a comprehensive review of measures used to assess attitudes toward people with disabilities, while Esses and Beaufoy 1994 proposes a model designed to explain the development, impact, and potential revision of such attitudes. Wright 1988 raises the possibility that judgments made by non-disabled people may be due to a particular bias toward recognized differences between individuals. Soder 1990 questions whether attitudes toward people with disability are truly negative; perhaps they are merely ambivalent because current tools for examining them are too basic. Yuker and Block 1986 provides a thorough review of research involving some of the most studied scales of attitudes toward disabled persons.

  • Antonak, R. F., and Hanoch Livneh. 2000. Measurement of attitudes towards persons with disabilities. Disability and Rehabilitation 22:211–224.

    DOI: 10.1080/096382800296782Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article valuates psychological and methodological research on measuring attitudes toward persons with disabilities. The utility of direct and indirect attitude measures is linked to practice, education, training, and rehabilitation research.

    Find this resource:

  • Esses, V. M., and S. L. Beaufoy. 1994. Determinants of attitudes toward people with disabilities. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality 9:43–64.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An empirical investigation of the attitudes of non-disabled persons toward people with disabilities, in which a multicomponent attitudinal model is proposed. The results suggest ways to reduce unfavorable attitudes toward persons with disabilities.

    Find this resource:

  • Soder, Mårten. 1990. Prejudice or ambivalence? Attitudes toward people with disabilities. Disability, Handicap, and Society 5:227–241.

    DOI: 10.1080/02674649066780241Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Proposes a contrary view concerning the established literature on attitudes toward persons with disabilities. Instead of adopting the dominant view that attitudes are negative, here such attitude research is found to be overly simple (theoretically and methodologically) rather than prejudicial.

    Find this resource:

  • Wright, Beatrice A. 1988. Attitudes and the fundamental negative bias: Conditions and corrections. In Attitudes towards persons with disabilities. Edited by Harold E. Yuker, 3–21. New York: Springer.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This chapter posits that any perceived difference between persons, such as disability, triggers a perceptual search for and subsequent judgment of negative qualities. The situational conditions triggering this negative bias are described and ways to reduce or eliminate its impact are discussed.

    Find this resource:

  • Yuker, Harold E., ed. 1988. Attitudes toward persons with disabilities. New York: Springer.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A comprehensive overview of the literature on attitudes toward persons with disabilities.

    Find this resource:

  • Yuker, Harold E. 1994. Variables that influence attitudes toward people with disabilities: Conclusions from the data. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality 9:3–22.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Explores the influence of variables presumed to affect (primarily negative) attitudes toward people with disabilities. In lieu of continuing to consider demographic or personality variables, the author advocates focusing on those linked with contact, attributes of disabled people (e.g., skills), and other intergroup variables.

    Find this resource:

  • Yuker, Harold E., and J. R. Block. 1986. Research with the Attitude Toward Disabled People Scales: 1960–1985. West Hempstead, NY: Hofstra University Center for the Study of Attitudes Toward People with Disabilities.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A summary of the theoretical underpinnings, scale construction and validation, and application of scales designed to assess attitudes toward people with physical, emotional, and mental disabilities.

    Find this resource:

Attributions, Disability, and Adaptation

How do people with acquired disabilities explain their experiences and fate? Are their explanations linked to psychosocial adjustment and self-reported well-being? Brickman, et al. 1978 suggests that hedonic adjustment is likely to occur whether people’s experiences are negative or positive. Bulman and Wortman 1977 provides evidence that self-blame can sometimes be adaptive. Heinemann, et al. 1988 suggests that researchers are apt to find evidence of better adjustment to disability by interviewing people with acquired disabilities at different points in time. Diener, et al. 2006 and Lucas 2007 demonstrate that hedonic adjustment to life changes, including acquired disability, can permanently alter set point levels of self-reported subjective well-being.

  • Brickman, Philip, Dan Coates, and Ronnie Janoff Bulman. 1978. Lottery winners and accident victims: Is happiness relative? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 37:917–927.

    DOI: 10.1037/0022-3514.36.8.917Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A groundbreaking set of studies suggesting that people adapt hedonically to both good and bad events. As time passes, lottery winners’ happiness is found to return to previous levels, while people with acquired disabilities are found to return to reporting well-being close to their pre-accident levels.

    Find this resource:

  • Bulman, Ronnie Janoff, and Camille B. Wortman. 1977. Attributions of blame and coping in the “real world”: Severe accident victims react to their lot. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 35:351–363.

    DOI: 10.1037/0022-3514.35.5.351Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This study explores the nature of “Why me?” questions that people ask following serious accidents. The results imply that blaming others or feeling the accident could have been prevented lead to poor adjustment. In contrast, self-blame for the situation is linked with better coping.

    Find this resource:

  • Diener, Ed, Richard E. Lucas, and Christine Napa Scollon. 2006. Beyond the hedonic treadmill: Revising the adaptation theory of well-being. American Psychologist 61:305–314.

    DOI: 10.1037/0003-066X.61.4.305Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article offers five revised points for the adaptation theory of well-being, including evidence that people do not necessarily return to their previous set point levels following life events.

    Find this resource:

  • Heinemann, Allen W., Mary Bulka, and Susan Smetak. 1988. Attributions and disability acceptance following traumatic injury: A replication and extension. Rehabilitation Psychology 33:195–206.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article suggests that adjustment to disability may differ depending on when the people with acquired disabilities are asked about their experiences. The present research suggests that disability acceptance is more likely to occur as time passes and may be mediated by related variables (e.g., age of individual).

    Find this resource:

  • Lucas, R. E. 2007. Adaptation and the set-point model of subjective well-being: Does happiness change after major life events? Current Directions in Psychological Science 16:75–79.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8721.2007.00479.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article demonstrates that although adaptation following traumatic life events does occur, significant and sustained changes in subjective well-being can be caused by divorce, disability, unemployment, and death of a spouse.

    Find this resource:

Insider-Outsider Perspectives

The insider-outsider distinction in rehabilitation psychology refers to the ways point of view affect understanding of disabilities. Insiders—people with disabilities—know what life with a disability is like. Outsiders—non-disabled people—routinely imagine or infer that life with a disability must be an ongoing negative experience or preoccupation. Research on or related to this topic aims to increase open-mindedness among outsiders, thereby enhancing sensitivity to and respect for the phenomenological experience of insiders. Dembo, et al. 1956 suggests the onset of disability can be ameliorated when affected individuals change their values and non-disabled observers cease viewing disability as a form of suffering. Dembo 1964 presents an early statement on the nature of insider-outsider perspectives. These perspectives are also related to Lewinian ideas on rehabilitation, where, for example, Dembo 1982 sees behavioral limitations of insiders as caused by environmental rather than personal constraints. Wright 1975 outlines ways to heighten outsiders’ awareness of and sensitivity to insiders’ experiences. Wright 1991 discusses how labels equate people with their conditions, a related form of outsider bias toward insider experiences. When disability is equated with stigma, as it often is in the social sciences, Fine and Asch 1988 suggests that the abilities and authentic experience of people with disabilities are discounted or presumed to be negative. Bérubé 1998 offers an outsider account of disability that highlights the importance of emphasizing and respecting insiders’ experiences.

  • Bérubé, Michel. 1998. Life as we know it: A father, a family, and an exceptional child. New York: Vintage.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A narrative account of personal and social reactions to the birth of a child with Down’s syndrome, focusing on ways society equates people with their conditions. The development of the author’s son is juxtaposed with critical analyses of sociocultural responses to disability.

    Find this resource:

  • Dembo, Tamara. 1964. Sensitivity of one person to another. Rehabilitation Literature 25:231–235.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article argues that perspectives on disability matter. People with disabilities (insiders) know what life with a disability is like, where non-disabled people (outsiders) imagine, often in a negative way, what such circumstances must be like. Recognizing shortcomings in outsider understanding can promote sensitivity.

    Find this resource:

  • Dembo, Tamara. 1982. Some problems in rehabilitation as seen by a Lewinian. Journal of Social Issues 38:131–139.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-4560.1982.tb00848.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article suggests a Lewinian analysis in which situational rather than personal factors are seen as causing negative connotations for disability. The author argues that limitations are imposed, for example, by mobility and accessibility constraints found in the environment, not in people with disabilities themselves.

    Find this resource:

  • Dembo, Tamara, Gloria L. Leviton, and Beatrice A. Wright. 1956. Adjustment to misfortune: A problem of social-psychological rehabilitation. Artificial Limbs 3:4–62.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A classic investigation exploring the nature of and implications of value change following the onset of disability. Results suggest that adjustment to disability occurs when affected individuals reevaluate the meaning of their bodily changes. Searching for positive or neutral implications of such change is linked to adjustment.

    Find this resource:

  • Fine, Michelle, and Adrienne Asch. 1988. Disability beyond stigma: Social interaction, discrimination, and activism. Journal of Social Issues 44:3–21.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-4560.1988.tb02045.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The authors argue that disability is a common human condition that is too often treated in psychology and the other social sciences as a merely a stigmatizing condition.

    Find this resource:

  • Wright, Beatrice A. 1975. Sensitizing outsiders to the position of the insider. Rehabilitation Psychology 22:129–135.

    DOI: 10.1037/h0090837Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Describes three training activities designed to sensitize non-disabled people (outsiders) to the psychosocial experience and perspective of people with disabilities (insiders). These activities can reduce misunderstandings stemming from bias and stereotypes, and can heighten awareness of self and others.

    Find this resource:

  • Wright, Beatrice A. 1991. Labeling: The need for greater person-environment individuation. In Handbook of social and clinical psychology: The health perspective. Edited by C. R. Snyder and D. R. Forsyth, 469–487. New York: Pergamon.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Wright argues that when psychologists and other professionals use labels to identify disabilities (or other medical or psychological conditions), they end up equating people with their conditions. Such deindividuation links condition to identity, implying that problems are centered in people rather than in the environment or social obstacles.

    Find this resource:

Social Interaction between Disabled and Non-Disabled Persons

What are the consequences of social interactions between people with disabilities and non-disabled persons? Do these interactions reduce prejudiced assumptions or enhance them? What role does the familiar “norm to be kind” play? Does the presence of a visible disability lead to a different interaction, for example, than that of a non-visible disability? These sorts of research questions are relevant to the study of between-group social interactions involving people who do and do not have disabilities. Hebl and Kleck 2000 gives an overview of the variables and situations known to influence social interaction between people with and without disabilities. Snyder, et al. 1979 methodologically demonstrates when and how non-disabled persons will seek to avoid contact with people with disabilities. Strenta and Kleck 1982 reveals perceived positivity biases aimed at tasks performed by people with disabilities. Strenta and Kleck 1985 examines expectations people with disabilities have regarding how disability affects interactions between disabled and non-disabled individuals. Mills, et al. 1984 finds that requests for aid followed by disability disclosure has a positive impact on social interactions between people with and without disabilities. Hebl and Kleck 2002 examines the effect of drawing attention to disability on perceptions during an interview situation.

  • Hebl, Michelle R., and Robert E. Kleck. 2000. The social consequences of physical disability. In The social psychology of stigma. Edited by Todd F. Heatherton, Robert E. Kleck, Michelle R. Hebl, and J. G. Hull, 419–439. New York: Guilford.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This chapter provides a broad overview of the variables and circumstances that influence the quality (functional or dysfunctional) of social interactions between people with disabilities and non-disabled persons. The authors offer suggestions for improving the nature of the exchanges between these groups.

    Find this resource:

  • Hebl, Michelle, and Robert E. Kleck. 2002. Acknowledging one’s stigma in the interview setting: Effective strategy or liability? Journal of Applied Social Psychology 32:223–249.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1559-1816.2002.tb00214.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Does acknowledging a disability in an interview reduce an interviewer’s potential bias? Results suggest that not acknowledging a disability did not affect perceptions, but doing so meant that the perceived controlability of a condition (e.g., obesity) affected observers’ reactions.

    Find this resource:

  • Mills, Judson, Faye Z. Belgrave, and Kathy M. Boyer. 1984. Reducing avoidance of social interaction with a physically disabled person by mentioning the disability following a request for aid. Journal of Applied Social Psychology 14:1–11.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1559-1816.1984.tb02216.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An experimental demonstration found that when asking for aid, mentioning a disability after the request is found to elicit more positive preferences for social interaction between people with disabilities and non-disabled persons.

    Find this resource:

  • Snyder, Melvin L., Robert E. Kleck, Angelo Strenta, and Steven J. Mentzer. 1979. Avoidance of the handicapped: An attributional ambiguity analysis. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 37:2297–2306.

    DOI: 10.1037/0022-3514.37.12.2297Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Two experiments demonstrate conditions under which non-disabled people will demonstrate subtle choices so as to avoid interacting with people with disabilities.

    Find this resource:

  • Strenta, Angelo C., and Robert E. Kleck. 1982. Perceptions of task feedback: Investigating “kind” treatment of the handicapped. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 8:706–711.

    DOI: 10.1177/0146167282084017Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This study examines observers’ perceptions and conclusions regarding task feedback given to non-disabled targets and those who have a disability. Positive feedback delivered to the latter was less likely to be seen as linked to task success than that given to non-disabled targets.

    Find this resource:

  • Strenta, Angelo C., and Robert E. Kleck. 1985. Physical disability and the attribution dilemma: Perceiving the causes of social behavior. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology 3:129–142.

    DOI: 10.1521/jscp.1985.3.2.129Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This empirical study examines whether and how one’s own physical disability is perceived to influence attributions about behavior of people with disabilities and non-disabled people engaged in a social interaction. Different disabilities were found to imply individual differences in attributional conclusions.

    Find this resource:

Value Changes and the Acceptance of Disability

Coping with the onset of disability may be facilitated when affected individuals elect to change their frame of values. Such value changes, in turn, may lead to acceptance of the disability. Li and Moore 1998 reviews variables that can predict acceptance of disability. Hampton and Crystal 1999 suggests that women are less accepting of their own disabilities than are men. Keany and Glueckauf 1993 offers a theory and method for demonstrating the potential benefits of value change for disability acceptance. Dunn 1994 identifies some psychosocial variables that may promote positive value change.

  • Dunn, Dana S. 1994. Positive meaning and illusions following disability: Reality negotiation, normative interpretation, and value change. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality 9:123–138.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article encourages the view that constructive value changes in people with disabilities can be understood by examining found meaning linked with disability and positive illusions.

    Find this resource:

  • Hampton, Nan Zhang, and Ralph Crystal. 1999. Gender differences in acceptance of disabilities among vocational rehabilitation consumers. Journal of Applied Rehabilitation Counseling 30:16–21.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Demonstrated that a sample of women with disabilities was found to report lower levels of acceptance for their conditions than a similar sample of men. The relevance of the findings for counseling issues is discussed.

    Find this resource:

  • Li, Li, and Dennis Moore. 1998. Acceptance of disability and its correlates. Journal of Social Psychology 138:13–25.

    DOI: 10.1080/00224549809600349Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Explores demographic and psychosocial factors that can promote or reduce the acceptance of disability. The potential implications of the results for rehabilitation programs are considered.

    Find this resource:

  • Keany, Kelly M. H., and Robert L. Glueckauf. 1993. Disability and value change: An overview and reanalysis of acceptance of loss theory. Rehabilitation Psychology 38:199–210.

    DOI: 10.1037/h0080297Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Acceptance of a disability is presumed to occur when value changes associated with the new physical condition occur. Evidence for this theory is sparse, but the present study offers methodological and conceptual guidance to better examine the benefits of value change.

    Find this resource:

Positive Psychology and Rehabilitation

Positive psychology, a new area of the discipline, focuses on human strengths to help people cope with challenge, connect positively with others, and see life as meaningful. This positive focus is designed to counteract the generally negative, pathological bias found in much psychological research. Rehabilitation psychology has a long history of promoting positive qualities found in people with disabilities, and so creating close ties and cooperative ventures with positive psychology makes good sense. The rehabilitation motto “Ability, not disability” applies well here, as does the importance the field places on “person first language” as a means to promote positivity. Dunn and Dougherty 2005 and Ehde 2010 offer rationales for why linking the two subfields together to examine common concerns is likely to be beneficial. Dunn and Brody 2008 outlines elements leading to living a good life in order to aid people with disabilities, their caregivers, and their families, to consider how making choices or changes that might enhance their well-being. To offer an agenda for research on positive psychology on rehabilitation issues, Dunn, et al. 2009 describes how happiness, resilience, and positive growth can change and often rebound following disability onset. Elliott, et al. 2002 offers a model for understanding and predicting how people adjust to physical disabilities in positive ways. Dunn 2005 offers a way to use insights from positive psychology and rehabilitation psychology to examine how people constructively make sense out of life experiences, including traumas and the onset of disability.

  • Dunn, Dana S. 2005. Negotiating realities to understand others: Teaching about meaning and well-being. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology 24:30–40.

    DOI: 10.1521/jscp.24.1.30.59176Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article emphasizes the importance of understanding the roles of people’s phenomenological experience and causal explanations in coping with life challenges, including disability. Construing reality in light of one’s experience, such as finding meaning in adversity, can promote psychological well-being.

    Find this resource:

  • Dunn, Dana S., and Clint Brody. 2008. Defining the good life following acquired physical disability. Rehabilitation Psychology 53:413–425.

    DOI: 10.1037/a0013749Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Drawing on research and theory from positive psychology, this article advocates that to lead a good life with a physical disability, individuals should seek to make meaningful connections to others, expand their positive characteristics, and consciously regulate aspects of their lives.

    Find this resource:

  • Dunn, Dana S., and Sarah B. Dougherty. 2005. Prospects for a positive psychology of rehabilitation. Rehabilitation Psychology 50:305–311.

    DOI: 10.1037/0090-5550.50.3.305Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The relevance of positive psychology to rehabilitation psychology is examined by reviewing the latter’s core strengths, which are positive in nature; considering how positive levels of analysis can inform rehabilitation; examining subjective experience as positive rehabilitation outcomes; and exploring integrative models for research and practice.

    Find this resource:

  • Dunn, Dana S., Timothy R. Elliott, and Gitendra Uswatte. 2009. Happiness, resilience and positive growth following disability: Issues for understanding, research, and therapeutic intervention. In Oxford handbook of positive psychology. 2d ed. Edited by S. J. Lopez and C. R. Snyder, 651–664. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This chapter explores whether, how, and to what extent happiness, resilience, and positive growth change following the onset of physical disability. Positive subjective states and individual processes are emphasized as mechanisms for enhancing the well-being of people with disabilities.

    Find this resource:

  • Ehde, D. M. 2010. Application of positive psychology to rehabilitation psychology. In Handbook of rehabilitation psychology. 2d ed. Edited by Robert G. Frank, Mitchell Rosenthal, and Bruce Caplan, 417–424. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This chapter outlines ways that rehabilitation psychology as research and practice can inform and collaborate with positive psychology in order to expand understanding of human functioning beyond pathology.

    Find this resource:

  • Elliott, Timothy R., Monica Kurylo, and Patricia Rivera. 2002. Positive growth following acquired physical disability. In Handbook of positive psychology. Edited by C. R. Snyder and S. J. Lopez, 687–699. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    How do people adjust to disabling conditions? This chapter presents a model for understanding as well as encouraging positive growth following the onset of physical disability. Relevant measures and intervention strategies are presented.

    Find this resource:

Narratives on the Experience of Disability

Narratives—literally, the stories people tell about their lives and experiences—are a qualitative form of descriptive research that can inform theory and practice in rehabilitation psychology. Bauby 1998 recounts life following a stroke resulting in “locked-in syndrome,” in which only his mind is free to wander. Couser 1997 describes various ways people with disabilities and chronic health conditions have elected to write about themselves and their experiences. Johnson 2005 provides a beautifully written, first-hand account of a meaningful life with a disability, including advocating for the rights of people with disabilities. McCrum 1999 provides a first-hand account of life following a serious stroke, while Osborne 1998 is about the author’s life and eventual professional return following a severe head injury. Murphy 2001 provides a first-person narrative about acquired disability and the place of disabilities in contemporary society. Cole 2006 portrays the distinct voices of twelve individuals who have spinal cord injuries. Rehabilitation psychologists Elliott and Kurylo document the role of hope in the life of one woman who has a disability (Elliott and Kurylo 2000). Kapur 1997 gathers classic and contemporary reflections on neurologic injury from medical and health-care professionals.

  • Bauby, Jean-Dominique. 1998. The diving bell and the butterfly: A memoir of life in death. New York: Vintage.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The author suffered a stroke to the brain stem and therefore experienced the so-called locked-in syndrome, having only his brain and his left eye left intact. His book is a moving, compelling account of his experience that exudes humor and insight but not self-pity.

    Find this resource:

  • Cole, Jonathan. 2006. Still lives: Narratives of spinal cord injury. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Portrays the very different lives of twelve individuals with tetraplegia. Although these individuals have similar disabilities, their experience with their conditions and the varied but rich lives they lead are distinct.

    Find this resource:

  • Couser, G. Thomas. 1997. Recovering bodies: Illness, disability, and life writing. Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin Press.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A book about writing by, about, and for people with disabilities. The portrayals herein reveal that people with disabilities describe life on their own terms, which turn out not necessarily to be as observers anticipate.

    Find this resource:

  • Elliott, Timothy, and Monica Kurylo. 2000. Hope over disability: Lessons from one young woman’s triumph. In The handbook of hope: Theory, measurement, and interventions. Edited by C. R. Snyder, 373–386. New York: Academic.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This chapter describes the role of the psychological construct hope in the life of a young woman with a disability.

    Find this resource:

  • Johnson, Harriet McBryde. 2005. Too late to die young: Nearly true tales from a life. New York: Holt.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An autobiographical book by a lawyer and disability activist who happens to be a person with a disability. The author repeatedly challenges the idea that disability is pitiable and that people with disabilities are objects deserving of pity.

    Find this resource:

  • Kapur, Narinder, ed. 1997. Injured brains of medical minds: Views from within. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A collection of articles reporting the experiences of medical and health-care professionals who developed neurologic disorders. The oldest paper is from 1843.

    Find this resource:

  • McCrum, Robert. 1999. My year off: Recovering life after a stroke. New York: Broadway.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A memoir detailing the aftereffects of a severe stroke and the long, challenging process of recovery. Acknowledges the incalculable importance of social support from spouse and friends.

    Find this resource:

  • Murphy, Robert F. 2001. The body silent: The different world of the disabled. New York: Norton.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An anthropologist who became paralyzed from the neck down describes his life and the role of disability in current culture. To explain his perspectives, the author relies on research from history, literature, sociology, psychology, and anthropology.

    Find this resource:

  • Osborne, Claudia L. 1998. Over my head: A doctor’s own story of head injury from the inside looking out. Riverside, NJ: Andrews McMeel.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An autobiography by a doctor who sustained a serious head injury during a bicycle accident. The book details the changes to the author’s personality and behavior as a result of the head injury, as well as the eventual return to her profession.

    Find this resource:

Disability Studies and Rehabilitation Psychology

Disability studies is an interdisciplinary field that examines the history, experiences, politics, economics, contributions, and culture of people with disabilities. Much of the scholarship in the field is based in a form of political activism urging that people with disabilities be their own advocates where health, social policy, and economics are concerned, and not the objects of study by non-disabled people, including psychologists. This political orientation is reflected in Charlton 1998 and Davis 2002. Longmore and Umansky 2001 introduces a perspective on the historical experience and representation of disability in America. Albrecht, et al. 2001 provides an overview of disability studies, and Davis 2006 contains representative readings introducing areas of inquiry. Oliver, et al. 2002 documents the ways in which disability studies has moved into different fields as well as the field’s impact therein. Gill 1995 presents the common psychological perspectives shared by people with disabilities. Olkin and Pledger 2003 outlines the barriers that need to be addressed before researchers in disability studies and psychology, respectively, can collaborate to produce research that satisfies the goals of both fields.

  • Albrecht, Gary L., Katherine D. Seelman, and Michael Bury, eds. 2001. Handbook of disability studies. Newbury Park, CA: SAGE.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The chapters in this edited book define disability studies and its origins as a field, explore the experience of disability, and examine contexts for disability. Contributors review key issues as well as the relevant literature, and they suggest how future research should proceed.

    Find this resource:

  • Charlton, James I. 1998. Nothing about us without us: Disability oppression and empowerment. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This book is a manifesto for disability activism in that it documents the economic, social, and political oppression aimed at people with disabilities. Researchers will learn that people with disabilities should be scholarly collaborators rather than objects of study.

    Find this resource:

  • Davis, Lennard J. 2002. Bending over backwards: Disability, dismodernism, and other difficult positions. New York: New York Univ. Press.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This book examines relations between disability and able-bodied perspectives concerning the politics of the human body. The essays introduce disability studies as a way to understand political activism and postmodern theory.

    Find this resource:

  • Davis, Lennard J. 2006. The disability studies reader. 2d ed. London: Routledge.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A comprehensive collection of articles that introduce and illustrate the nature and scope of disability studies.

    Find this resource:

  • Gill, Carol J. 1995. A psychological view of disability culture. Disability Studies Quarterly 15.4: 16–19.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article outlines perspectives shared by people with disabilities that point to a common worldview.

    Find this resource:

  • Longmore, Paul K., and Lori Umansky, eds. 2001. The new disability history: American perspectives. New York: New York Univ. Press.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This analysis of American history reveals that disability was more than a medical or physical category; the label also encompassed social problems, as well as people’s personal and public lives, and served as a cultural metaphor.

    Find this resource:

  • Oliver, Michael, Len Barton, and Colin Barnes, eds. 2002. Disability studies today. Malden, MA: Blackwell.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This edited volume reveals how disabilities studies has proliferated into many fields beyond sociology and psychology.

    Find this resource:

  • Olkin, Rhoda, and Constance Pledger. 2003. Can disability studies and psychology join hands? American Psychologist 58:296–304.

    DOI: 10.1037/0003-066X.58.4.296Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In spite of psychology’s increasing focus on diversity, disability has remained a somewhat marginalized topic. This article outlines reasons for and possible remedies to dealing with this marginalization.

    Find this resource:

LAST MODIFIED: 11/29/2011

DOI: 10.1093/OBO/9780199828340-0048

back to top

Article

Up

Down