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Contribution to Book

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Oxford University Press

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Understanding the Experience of Disability: Perspectives from Social and Rehabilitation Psychology

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This chapter provides an overview of the social and psychological factors contributing to coping with and adjusting to disability by summarizing models; clinical implications, evidence-based practice, and measurement issues; and empirical research related to the process of coping with and adjustment to disability. While the models are useful for understanding a portion of the experience of people with disabilities and their coping and adjustment process, these reactions are not universal and not always experienced in an orderly sequence. Both coping and adaptation are multidimensional, complex processes affected by many factors and influenced by the person with the disability, the stress related to the disability, and a myriad of contextual factors. The ultimate goals of all people with disabilities are good psychosocial outcomes and a high quality of life. Since coping can be a mediator, coping skills are important for professionals working with individuals with disabilities to understand, study, and communicate to clients and their families. Future studies, as well as clinical work, would do well to focus efforts on the many aspects of the interaction between the person and the environment that make up a person's life space and affect their coping with, adjustment to, and acceptance of disability.


Published version. "Social and Psychological Factors Affecting Coping with and Adjusting to Disability," in Understanding the Experience of Disability: Perspectives from Social and Rehabilitation Psychology, edited by Dana S. Dunn. New York, NY : Oxford University Press, [2019] ©2019: 90-106. Used with permission.

Alexandra M. Kriofske Mainella was affiliated with University of Wisconsin, Madison at the time of publication.

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