Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Special Education and Rehabilitation

Department name when degree awarded

Disability Disciplines (Rehabilitation Counseling)

Committee Chair(s)

Jared Schultz


Jared Schultz


Michael Millington


Robert Morgan


Julie Smart


Gary Straquadine


While there has been extensive research on the quality of life for people with disabilities, very little research has been conducted on the way in which families impact the quality of life of these individuals. This study focused on how family dynamics impact the quality of life for people with disabilities who are clients of state vocational rehabilitation agencies. Specifically, family flexibility and cohesion, as well as family resilience, were the independent variables; quality of life was the dependent variable.

It was found that family functioning and family resilience play an important role in the quality of life for people with disabilities. There was a strong relationship between family functioning and quality of life, in addition to family resilience and quality of life. Ten life domains were used to examine quality of life: physical health, mental health, work/education, leisure activities, relationship with significant other, family relationships, social relationships, financial situation, independence/autonomy, and religious/spiritual expression. For each domain, the participant was asked four questions on the importance, control, satisfaction, and impact of disability. Family functioning and family resilience significantly correlated with all of the 10 life domains on most of the four factors. Family dynamics account for 36% of the variance of quality of life. Family dynamics significantly impact the quality of life for people with disabilities and therefore should be taken into consideration in the rehabilitation process.




Publication made available electronically December 21, 2011.