Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Psychological adjustment is considered to be a critical component of overall adaptation to physical disability. Research has consistently shown elevated rates of psychological distress among the disabled yet factors that influence variations in psychological adjustment among the disabled have not been firmly established. This study examines the influence of two factors--social support and coping strategies--on psychological adjustment among the disabled.;Respondents for the study were obtained through a stratified multi-stage clustering technique. Screening interviews were conducted at more than 11,000 households in Southwestern Ontario, and from the screenings 1509 persons with physical disabilities were identified. Nine hundred ninety five of these persons participated in this study. The respondents had a wide array of disabilities, with varying degrees of impairment. They ranged in age from 18 - 92 years.;Disability was defined in terms of a limitation in one or more role areas because of a physical health condition. Criteria for inclusion in the study included (1) a disability duration of three months or longer or an anticipation that the disability would be of long term or permanent duration; (2) aged 18 years or over; (3) no mental handicaps; (4) community residence, as opposed to residence in institutions for the disabled or aged; (5) ability of the respondent to personally complete the interview, which excluded persons with insufficient English language abilities or with severe speech disorders.;A series of multiple regression analyses were done to examine the relationship between social support and psychological adjustment. Social support was found to be importantly associated with psychological adjustment, independent of the effects of life events stress, age, sex and several disability related variables. The disability related variables considered made only a minimal contribution to understanding psychological adjustment among the disabled.;The relationship between coping and psychological adjustment was also examined through multiple regression procedures. Coping was weakly associated with depression and self-esteem but no significant relationship with general distress was observed. The relationship between coping and psychological adjustment was examined across problem categories and problem stress level, and while some variations were observed, a consistent pattern could not be discerned. . . . (Author's abstract exceeds stipulated maximum length. Discontinued here with permission of school.) UMI



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.