Different Bodies, Different Selves: The Role of Physical Disability in the Formation of Personal Identity


The variables that contribute to the acquisition of personal identity are many, and the interactions that occur before someone realizes "I am ... " are complex, to say the least. The process of ' identification' that is, the aforementioned acquisition of the self is not a static process that is the same for each person. Although some similar patterns of existence may occur, it is ultimately a unique occurrence.

I propose that in the 'construction of the self that there are three broad facets of existence that should be addressed in answering questions concerning personal identity the physiological, the psychological, and the social. Each of these factors contributes to the process of becoming that is personal identity. This is in line with modem psychological models.

The present work seeks to bring to light some of these facets of personal identity in general. More than this however, an attempt will be made to examine some of the ways in which physical disability can affect one's sense of personal narrative that is woven into "Who I am and whom I wish to be." In the course of this work several topics will surface. First an emphasis will be placed on the physical expressions and ' limitations' of the body as an extension into space. The concept of the "body schema" will be explained here to illustrate the ways in which the body is integrated into the self. Next, the psychological effects of physical disability will be addressed with a focus toward the reconstruction of mental representations of the 'normal' body and the resultant effects of this reconstruction. Here, the "body image" of the disabled individual will be discussed using data from


This item is only available in print in the UCF Libraries. If this is your thesis or dissertation, you can help us make it available online for use by researchers around the world by downloading and filling out the Internet Distribution Consent Agreement. You may also contact the project coordinator Kerri Bottorff for more information.

Thesis Completion





Gallagher, Shaun


Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


College of Arts and Sciences

Degree Program



Arts and Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic; Dissertations, Academic -- Arts and Sciences







Access Status

Open Access

Length of Campus-only Access


Document Type

Honors in the Major Thesis

This document is currently not available here.