Perrin, P. (2019). Diversity and social justice in disability: the heart and soul of rehabilitation psychology.  Rehabilitation Psychology, 64 (2), 105-110. 


This article is the introduction to a special issue that contains 13 articles.  The special issue is organized around three themes.  The first theme is critical disability identity theory.  This includes a discussion of the need to normalize the word disability and the use of disability-first language.  There is also a review of current disability identity measures and suggestions for future measures.  There is guidance for all rehabilitation psychologists to increase our cultural competency about disability identity, and move from cultural competency to social justice.  Throughout several articles is the reminder that many people may have multiple marginalized identities and there is a need for greater awareness of intersectionality.  The second large theme is discrimination and prejudice.  This series of articles highlights ableist discrimination and implicit bias, and also points out the microaggressions experienced by disabled people based on sexual minority, gender, or other identities.  The final theme is health disparities in the context of disability.  In this section the authors discuss issues such as gender, race-ethnicity, characteristics such as substance use and history of psychiatric illness, aging and deafness, and examine how these factors interact with access to care.  This impressive collection of articles also contains suggestions and guidelines for rehabilitation psychologists to become advocates for inclusion and access.

 Why I chose this article: As the author states, diversity and social justice are the heart and soul of rehabilitation psychology.  These articles provide a wealth of information that is useful within our professional lives as well as our personal lives.  These issues cut across all areas of practice from acute care to community-based care, and all diagnoses.

 THIS REHAB SCIENCE SPOTLIGHT was selected by Sarah A. Raskin, Ph.D. ABPP/ABCN, Professor of the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience Program at Trinity College and a member of Division 22’s Science Committee.