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Independence Among People with Disabilities: I. A Heuristic Model

Nosek MA, Fuhrer MJ. Independence among people with disabilities: I. A heuristic model. Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin 1992;36(1):6-20.


A heuristic model of independence is developed, discussed in reference to a hierarchy of fundamental human needs, and applied to the needs of people with disabilities. Four essential components of independence are identified and defined: 1) perceived control of one's life, 2) physical functioning, 3) psychological self-reliance, and 4) characteristics of the physical and social environment. These components are then discussed in relation to a quasi-Maslovian hierarchy of four levels: 1) basic survival, 2) material well-being, 3) productivity, and 4) self-actualization. Based on the independence needs of persons with disabilities for greater control over the services they receive from medical and vocational rehabilitation establishments, recommendations are made for research and policy changes.

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