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The Psychological & Social Impact of Disability (4th ed.). (In Review).

The Psychological & Social Impact of Disability (4th ed.) Robert P. Marinelli and Arthur E. Dell Orto Editors Springer Publishing Company New York, NY 1999, 468 pages, $49.95

This is the fourth edition of a text that addresses the psychological and social effects of disability. It consists of a collection of comprehensive readings and is very appropriate for a graduate course in rehabilitation counseling. I use it in a course I teach entitled "Human Development, Diversity, and Impairments." I commend the editors for trying to include chapters that review a variety of disability related topics. It is clear that no single text can adequately represent what people with a variety of disabilities may experience; however, the readings in this book are varied and all-inclusive. This edition seems much more dynamic than the third because it includes more pieces from various authors. What complements this book the most is the presence of the consumer's voice. A synopsis of the book by section follows.

The first section, Perspectives on Disability and Consumer, is a very strong collection of writings on various psychological aspects of disability, including the socio-political ramifications of disability. Overall, this section is a very cohesive set, except for the Trieschmann piece on the Energy Model that seems out of place despite being intriguing (it would seem a better fit in the New Directions section).

The second section, entitled Family and Developmental Issues in Disability, is another strong set of chapters on the implications of disability on the family. The topic of disability and the family is growing in the professional literature, and this section adds to the trend by including chapters that offer direction to rehabilitation counselors and other professionals in terms of the emotional impact of disability on family members. Kim Mueser's piece on family and mental illness speaks volumes! She reviews current research in the field and presents a specific protocol for working with families where mental illness is present. Such specificity is potentially very useful to professionals by helping them choose effective treatment modalities when working with families.

The third section addresses the personal impact of disability. This section contains some moving chapters from the perspective of people with disabilities. The acceptance of disability is discussed in detail as well as concepts such as hope and anger. These pieces give the reader a more personal account of how disability affects a human being. The chapters are compelling in this section and truly enhance the quality of this book, especially from the viewpoint that people with disabilities have physical as well as emotional and psychological reactions. My students have found these chapters very helpful in understanding the effects of disability.

Section four, The Interpersonal and Attitudinal Impact of Disability, begins with a discussion by Szymanski and Trueba of how people with disabilities are castified in society. Victimization is also covered. Lastly, an examination of the social lives of people with schizophrenia is examined. These pieces give the reader several theories of how discrimination and stigma have emerged and are sustained in society.

In the fifth section, sexuality is covered in a very broad sense that is compelling, comprehensive, and informative. Sexual abuse of people with disabilities is fully discussed in terms of dynamics and origins. Sexual orientation is also addressed. Such topics are often lacking in rehabilitation literature. Furthermore, Vash presents her view of how disability affected her sexual and psychological health in a candid fashion.

The sixth section addresses interventions such as Beck's cognitive therapy and Ellis' Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy in a rehabilitation context. This section, in my opinion, is weaker than the other sections of the book. Some of the information on interventions seems a bit too elusive for the reader to assimilate and possibly use in rehabilitation practice. I was hoping for more focused pieces on interventions similar to Mueser's in Part II. For example, presenting several effective procedures for rehabilitation intervention might have been more applicable and would have seemed more beneficial to rehabilitation professionals.

The final section, New Directions, includes a nice survey of innovative approaches to service delivery, spirituality, HIV/AIDS, substance abuse and mental illness, recovery from mental illness, and a woman's experience with disability and health care. The chapters seemed to address some of the major changes that the field of rehabilitation faces at present.

In summary, I found this book very interesting and applicable to various aspects of rehabilitation. As a field, the boundaries of rehabilitation have been fluid and have entered new frontiers. Marinelli and Dell Otto's book does well to keep up with these changes. As stated before, addressing all aspects of rehabilitation and disability is extremely difficult but the chapters in this book are quite varied and applicable. This book can be of great benefit to rehabilitation professionals who are new to the field and who are seeking both historical and contextual information on the psychosocial impact of disability. Moreover, a veteran in the field can also benefit by the new and innovative material presented.
Michael P. Accordino, D. Ed., CRC
Assistant Professor
Department of Rehabilitation and
Disability Studies
Springfield College
COPYRIGHT 2001 National Rehabilitation Association
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Copyright 2001, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Accordino Michael P.
Publication:The Journal of Rehabilitation
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Oct 1, 2001
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