Disability, ableism, social support
The objective of this study is to investigate ableism and social support networks in the healthcare setting. Social support networks play an important role in combating emotional distress in healthcare. They provide disabled patients a method for defending against the negative effects of ableism among other stressors. By definition, ableism refers to perceptions that disability is abnormal and undesirable. Ten healthcare providers in central Florida (i.e., in nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, and primary care offices) were interviewed, using in-depth face-to-face qualitative interviewing. Participants were asked questions relating to the effects of ableist language on patients with disabilities as well as the role of social support networks in combating related stress. Throughout the process of data analysis, five major themes arose as most relevant to the research questions proposed: (1) Traditional Social Support, (2) Online Networks as a Source of Informational Support, (3) Concerns about Ableist Language, (4) External Sources of Patient Social Support, and (5) Accommodation and Accessibility. Results indicated a strong preference for traditional social support, as opposed to online support. Traditional social support is offered through accommodation of caregivers, availability of social workers, and creation of support groups. Benefits of online support networks are viewed mainly in terms of fulfilling the informational needs of patients with disabilities. Additionally, while some accommodations for patients with disabilities were described, these dealt primarily with alterations to the physical environment. Results showed a lack of attention paid to ableism in the healthcare field, particularly instances occurring in communication practices. Overall, there is room for improvement in the healthcare field concerning accommodations for patients with disabilities.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Sciences
Communication; Interpersonal Communication
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Dissertations, Academic -- Sciences, Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic
McCampbell, Darcey, "Provider Perceptions Of Ableism And Social Support Networks In The Healthcare Setting" (2013). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 2905.