RehabWire Volume 1 Number 6, July 1999

Women and disability are the focus of the sixth edition of RehabWire. Women with disabilities are more likely to experience abuse and less likely to take advantage of opportunities for assistance, according to the new Chartbook on Women and Disability in the United States, 1999. This issue of RehabWire looks at more current research on women and disability.

Websites for information on women with disabilities:

New Research: Selections from REHABDATA

Olney, M F Kuper, E V. (1998). The Situation Of Women With Developmental Disabilities: Implications For Practitioners In Supported Employment. Journal of Applied Rehabilitation Counseling, 29(2), 3-8. Accession Number: J35281.
Abstract: Article reviewing the literature on supported employment for women with developmental disabilities. The experience of women with developmental disabilities is compared and contrasted with that of women with physical disabilities. Topics include: developmental disabilities and employment; disability and minority group membership; special needs and concerns of women with disabilities; attitudes toward the sexuality of women with developmental disabilities; impact of gender and disability on self-concept; gender and vocational outcomes. Concludes with recommendations for change in supported employment.

Tilley, C M. (1998). Health Care For Women With Physical Disabilities: Literature Review And Theory. Sexuality and Disability, 16(2), 87-102. Accession Number: J35388.
Abstract: Article reviewing the literature on women with disabilities, including both scholarly literature and literature written by women with disabilities. Topics covered include: women with disabilities in relation to the disability field and the mainstream feminist movement; the status of women with disabilities; health issues; reproductive health services; and sexuality and sexual abuse.

Harness-DiGloria, D. (1999) Breaking The Silence. PN/Paraplegia News, 53(3), p17-21. Accession Number: J36376.
Abstract: Article about violence and abuse directed against women with disabilities. Lists factors that increase the risk for women with disabilities. Treatment and support services are discussed.

Doe, T O'Toole, C Kafer, A (eds) (1999). Claiming Our Bodies: Resource Material. National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) Society for Disability Studies Available online at Accession Number: O13045.
Abstract: Resource kit presents materials from the Disabled Women's Conference held in Washington DC on May 26, 1999. Topics addressed include sexuality, violence and women's health. Presentations include (1) "Resistant bodies: disability as sites of resistance," ways to resist the powers that would make women with disabilities feel inferior; (2) "The who, what, and how's of disabled persons' [sic] sexuality," which addresses these issues, offers printed and Internet resources, and also briefly presents the issue of women and safer sex; (3) "Health," a personal introduction to the topic of women's health for women with disabilities, focusing on fatigue, pain, mental health, and interactions with doctors. Includes resources in print, on the Internet, and reference and referral services with phone numbers; (4)"Ending violence," which also includes several resources available in various media forms; (5) "Readings about women and disability that we suggest;" (6) A beginning women's guide to using the Internet; and (7) The Report and Evaluation from last year's women's conference in Oakland.

The Chartbook is available in print from NARIC or online at

Defining Disability: Updating the REHABDATA Thesaurus

The REHABDATA Thesaurus is a key instrument in indexing the materials in the NARIC collection. The Thesaurus is a constantly evolving document which is modified and updated on a regular basis. Each month we look at a term, how it’s defined, and how it’s used in indexing rehabilitation and disability literature.

What is a non-term? The REHABDATA Thesaurus uses the broadest terms to index its 60,000 abstracts. In the Thesaurus, Women is considered a non-term. That is, it is included but Females is used to index any records. This broader term also includes young girls, elderly women, and teen-agers. This also applied to the terms Men and Males.

Compare these two entries in the Thesaurus:

Antonym: Males
Related Terms: Adults, Children, Family life, Infants, Older adults, Youth
Use For: Girls, Women

Non-Term: Women
Use Term: Females

NIDRR Projects: Research in the New Millennium

Impact of Training and Support Strategies On Employment Outcomes For Persons With Disabilities From Minority Backgrounds (H133F990055) led by Diane Liebert Espinola, PhD.
Abstract: This study will determine the impact of training and support strategies on the employment outcomes of participants with disabilities from minority and low income backgrounds, with a focus on those with severe disabilities. In the past six years, Nassau BOCES has added several innovative training and support strategies to its P.W.I. model to meet the needs of people with severe disabilities and those from minority backgrounds. These include: the Intensive Support Program (ISP), vocational training in eight occupations for those with severe disabilities, and Work Opportunities for Women (WOW), a federally funded model demonstration project for women with severe disabilities from minority backgrounds. Testing the effectiveness of these strategies is the focus of this research study.

A Multi-level Analysis of the Relationship Between Domestic Violence and Disability, University of Illinois at Chicago (H133G990144) led by Christine Helfrich, PhD.
Abstract: The nature of this study is to understand the intersection between domestic violence and disability. All subjects are female adult victims of domestic violence. This project is designed to begin building an understanding of the relationships and consequences of domestic violence and disability through a multi-method approach. This project has three stated objectives: 1) to document the extent and nature of impairment/disability among women who are identified as victims of domestic violence in a municipal hospital. 2) To document the disability related characteristics of women who present to an emergency shelter for domestic violence. 3) To disseminate project findings in appropriate formats to policy makers, service providers, and consumers.

abstract female wheelchair racer.

International Disability Exchanges and Studies (IDEAS) Project 2000, World Institute on Disability (H133D40028) led by Deborah Kaplan, JD and Barbara Duncan.
Abstract: The Project enhances the impact of international activities on the lives of Americans with disabilities and the rehabilitation community in the areas of technology transfer, women's issues, employment, and independent living. It increases the participation of the U.S. disability community in significant, international research projects and policy debates. Project outcomes include: (1) an international comparison and evaluation of employment policies in the United States and other select countries; (2) a functioning, international network as a model of wheelchair technology transfer and improved techniques in self care for people with spinal cord injuries; (3) tested training modules to help women with disabilities improve their status; (4) an analysis of various interpretations of independent living in different countries; (5) operational databases on specific content areas and domestic sites of excellence for international visitors; and (6) targeted dissemination of results of the above activities.
Find out more at:

Reducing Risk Factors for Abuse Among Low-Income Minority Women with Disabilities, Baylor College of Medicine (H133A60045) led by Margaret A. Nosek, PhD.
Abstract: This project pursues strategies to reach women with disabilities at all stages of resolving abusive situations. To accomplish this purpose, the project has the following objectives: (1) identify risk factors for emotional, physical, and sexual abuse faced by women with disabilities; (2) assess the ability of rehabilitation and independent living counselors to identify women in abusive situations and refer them to appropriate community resources; (3) develop and test models for programs that reduce the risk of abuse for women with disabilities, particularly among women with disabilities from low-income, minority backgrounds where the incidence of abuse is highest; and (4) establish an agenda for future research on women with disabilities using a national advisory panel. The project works not only with programs that help battered women, but also with those in contact with women with disabilities in various community contexts.
Find out more at:

Self-Esteem and Women with Physical Disabilities, Baylor College of Medicine (H133G990039) led by Margaret A. Nosek, Ph.D.
Abstract: The purpose of this study is the development of a greater understanding of self-esteem in women with physical disabilities. The study examines the effectiveness of psycho-educational, peer-facilitated workshop intervention designed to enhance the self-esteem of women with physical disabilities. The primary goal is to increase self-esteem while concurrently learning about ways to build relationship skills. Specific subgoals are to understand the impact of gender and disability role socialization; increase self-awareness and self-understanding; increase self-nurtuance; understand health relationships and boundaries; learn about communication skills and consumer advocacy; and integrate and apply skills. Peer leaders facilitate the program. Information about the self-esteem of women with physical disabilities and program activities will be documented and disseminated widely to women with disabilities, independent living counselors, and mental health professionals.
Find out more at:

Women's Personal Assistance Services (PAS) Abuse Research Project, Oregon Health Sciences University/Portland (H133G70154) led by Laurie Powers, PhD.
Abstract: This project increases the identification, assessment, and response to abuse by formal and informal personal assistance service (PAS) providers of women with physical and physical and cognitive disabilities living independently in the community. The aims of the project: (1) develop culturally sensitive screening approaches to identify PAS abuse, (2) develop a culturally appropriate PAS abuse assessment protocol, and (3) develop culturally appropriate response strategies to prevent and manage PAS abuse.