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Handbook of Disability Sport and Exercise Psychology$
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Jeffrey J. Martin

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190638054

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190638054.001.0001

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Models of Disability

Models of Disability

(p.13) 2 Models of Disability
Handbook of Disability Sport and Exercise Psychology

Jeffrey J. Martin

Oxford University Press

The purpose of this chapter is to describe the different models of disability to help sport and exercise psychology researchers understand the various philosophical and psychological perspectives embedded in each model. First examined is the medical model and how it frames disability as a personal flaw and a medical condition that needs fixing. The social model follows, which suggests that while people might have an impairment it is the physical and social environment that causes disability. The third model discussed is the social-relational model, which acknowledges that people’s physical impairment, the built environment, and other people’s attitudes can all influence the experience of disability. In the tragedy model, people have the cultural viewpoint that having an impairment is tragic, that people with disabilities have a poor quality of life and should be pitied. Finally, the affirmation model repudiates the tragedy model and suggests that having a disability, while challenging, is often embraced and can result in benefits. The strengths and weaknesses of all models are discussed and examples of disability sport psychology research are used to illustrate the models.

Keywords:   social model, medical model, social-relation model, affirmation model, tragedy model, models of disability

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