Aspects of Culture Influencing Rehabilitation and Persons with Disabilities

Elias Mpofu, Julie Chronister, Ebonee T. Johnson and Geoff Denham

in The Oxford Handbook of Rehabilitation Psychology

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199733989
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Aspects of Culture Influencing Rehabilitation and Persons with Disabilities

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  • Clinical Psychology



Disability is largely defined by the sociocultural context in which it is perceived and in relation to the atypicality with which a person identified as having a disability participates in ordinary activities of daily living. The ways in which social others perceive the category of disability influences access to resources for participation, so that some disabilities may result in more restrictions to participation than others. Rehabilitation interventions for people with disabilities seek to maximize quality of daily life in typical community settings. Communities as participation environments differ in the extent to which they are structured to enable the full inclusion of others who may have disabilities. Concepts rooted in a human rights perspective to disability enable checks on assumptions on which opportunities for community participation are configured and distributed to accommodate the full range of human attributes, thus making it likely for changes to occur toward disability-inclusive sociocultural systems. Culturally safe contexts for participation are those that enable those with a disability to have the same access to resources for activities of daily living as those without disability. Research is needed on sociocultural systems to determine full community participation of people with disabilities and how this can best be implemented.

Keywords: Disability; culture; cultural safety; participation; human rights

Article.  7876 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Clinical Psychology

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