Keywords

Disability, ableism, social support

Abstract

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.

Notes

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Graduation Date

2013

Semester

Spring

Advisor

Matusitz, Jonathan

Degree

Master of Arts (M.A.)

College

College of Sciences

Department

Communication

Degree Program

Communication; Interpersonal Communication

Format

application/pdf

Identifier

CFE0004715

URL

http://purl.fcla.edu/fcla/etd/CFE0004715

Language

English

Release Date

May 2016

Length of Campus-only Access

3 years

Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)

Subjects

Dissertations, Academic -- Sciences, Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic

Restricted to the UCF community until May 2016; it will then be open access.

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