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On the potential for psychological researchers and psychologists to promote the social inclusion of people with disability: A review

journal contribution
posted on 2015-01-01, 00:00 authored by Cadeyrn GaskinCadeyrn Gaskin
© 2015 Australian Psychological Society. Objective: This paper outlines different approaches to understanding disability and describes ways in which psychological researchers and psychologists can promote the social inclusion of people with disability. Method: Narrative review drawing on writings and research from psychology and disability studies. Results: Five prominent models of disability appear in the literature (moral, medical, social, biopsychosocial, and post-modern), all of which have relevance to the lives of people with disability. Conceptualisations commonly used to understand the experience of disability from a psychological perspective include stigma and psycho-emotional disablism. There is evidence that people with disability wish to have greater involvement in research (e.g., as consultants and partners in research about them, and as participants in mainstream research) and to see research findings translated into practice. Evidence is emerging that can be used to underpin psychologists work with (a) communities (to foster social change and social justice, and to reduce stigma); (b) organisations, such as schools, workplaces, and disability service providers (to help develop inclusive and supportive environments); (c) families (to promote optimism, alternative understandings of disability, and a sense of control, as well as developing behaviour support plans and providing referrals to other sources of practical support); and (d) people with disability (to assist them with the issues they bring to therapy while being mindful of the potential for psycho-emotional disablism to colour the material presented). Conclusion: Psychological researchers and psychologists have significant potential to contribute to the social inclusion of people with disability.



Australian psychologist






445 - 454


Australian Psychological Society


St. Lucia, Qld.







Publication classification

C Journal article; C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2015, Australian Psychological Society