This theis explores the similarities and the differences between individuals with congenital disabilities and individuals with acquired disabilities. It concentrates on the problems that disabled face in American society and the coping mechanisms that they utilize to deal with the problems. This was accomplished by conducting interviews with 8 individuals with physical disabilities that reside in Ohio. Three of the individuals had congenital disabilities, and five of the contributors had acquired disabilities. Results showed that individuals with congenital disabilities had a different self-image than individuals with acquired disabilities. Yet, they utilized similar coping mechanisms to deal with the obstacles that they face. The coping mechanisms that they utilized included the belief that they lives could be worse, denial that disability has an affect on their lives, using positive role models, minimizing the obstacles that they face, utilizing the various support systems that were available, and having an optimistic outlook about their life. Future research is suggested, focusing on narrowing the study questions to cover a smaller number of coping strategies. Future studies should include a larger sample size. They should also attempt to determine if individuals with disabilities can agree on a group identity.


McConnell, David


Sociology and Anthropology

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis

Available for download on Thursday, January 01, 2150

Request Access



© Copyright 1997 Jeffrey Hughes