Consideration of Disability from the Perspective of the Medical Model

  • Susan E. RoushEmail author
Part of the Bioarchaeology and Social Theory book series (BST)


The primary disability model used in medical treatment and heath care today is the World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Classification of Function, Disability and Health (ICF). It is considered a biopsychosocial model and strength of the current ICF is the acknowledgement of variation and recognition of the powerful role the environment and personal factors play in life with a disability . From the perspective of a physical therapist, implementation of the ICF in many health care settings has not been realized as it remains situated in the medical world. Additional factors that influence the lives of persons with disabilities are also important. These factors are organized into three categories: nature of the disability (for example, disability visibility), individual difference characteristics of the person (for example, family or community support), and the social environment (for example, the social determinants of health). Personal narratives illustrate many of the topics presented in this chapter.


ICF Disability Variation in response to disability 



The author offers sincere appreciate to Deirdre Robinson for sharing the narratives offered toward the end of this chapter, which illustrate many of the presented concepts. Also, appreciation is extended to the anonymous reviewer of this work whose feedback was instrumental in focusing the chapter toward a bioarchaeology audience.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Rhode IslandKingstonUSA

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