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Life Satisfaction of People with Physical Disabilities: Relationship to Personal Assistance, Disability Status, and Handicap

Nosek MA, Fuhrer MJ, Potter CG. Life satisfaction of people with physical disabilities: Relationship to personal assistance, disability status, and handicap. Rehabilitation Psychology 1995;40(3):191-202.


To understand how physical disability affects life satisfaction, the present study focused on possible moderating factors that are associated with those conditions and with life satisfaction. Three possible moderating factors were investigated: (1) level of disability, (2) level of handicap, and (3) self-appraised adequacy of personal assistance. A sample of 45 persons with a variety of physical disabilities who use personal assistance was given the Life Satisfaction Index - A, selected subscales from the Arthritis Impact Measurement Scale, the Craig Handicap Assessment and Report Technique, and a 19-item measure of personal assistance satisfaction. There were significant positive correlations between life satisfaction and both handicap and personal assistance satisfaction. Life satisfaction and degree of disability were not significantly correlated. There was no interaction between disability and personal assistance satisfaction with respect to either life satisfaction or handicap. Results are discussed in terms of Diener's "bottom-up" theory and the complex array of factors that contribute to personal assistance satisfaction.

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