This dissertation seeks to illuminate the process of intercultural adjustment and development, using the Bennett Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity, in two areas of my life - sojourns abroad and adapting to acquired disabilities. I propose that acquiring a disability is a life-changing experience, similar to a sojourn abroad or other deeply intercultural experiences. This dissertation puts forth the thesis that cross-cultural adjustment models and theory can be highly useful in helping persons with acquired disabilities adjust to their new culture and selves.
This study generates knowledge that fills a gap in the disability, intercultural, and rehabilitation psychology literature in terms of coping with acquired disabilities in both systematic and meaningful ways. Hopefully, it will also inform and help those with acquired disabilities. Additionally, using the intercultural adjustment paradigm can only serve to broaden the impact of Bennett's model. This will expand how people think of culture as both interpersonal and intrapersonal, as well as impact how the newly disabled and their medical professionals and caregivers can think of disability as an intercultural experience.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. January 2009. Major: Educational Policy and Administration. Advisor: Dr. R. Michael Paige. 1 computer file (PDF); viii, 171 pages. Ill. (some col.)
International sojourns and acquired disabilities as intercultural experiences: a journey of personal transformation..
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