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Date of Award
Thesis - Pacific Access Restricted
Master of Arts (M.A.)
First Committee Member
Janet M. Bennett
Second Committee Member
Third Committee Member
This thesis examines a special kind of intercultural communication called interability communication, the interactions between the disabled and the abled. In-depth interviews were conducted with six Japanese men (average age 44.3 years), all of whom experienced the transition from being a member of the nondisabled majority to becoming a member of the disabled minority when they received spinal cord injuries in traffic accidents. The average length of time since the initial acquisition of disability was 25.7 years, and all of the men are now gainfully employed, living in the community, and report high levels of quality of life.
This study shows that following their sudden acquisition of disability, the subjects developed new ways of interacting with both their physical and social environments. Their relationships with family and friends were altered. They developed new communication strategies for dealing with nondisabled people, especially centered on asking for help, and accepting or rejecting offers of help.
Their cultural value orientations with regard to power distance, uncertainty avoidance, individualism-collectivism, and masculinity-femininity also underwent changes. This study shows that an understanding of these changes can help nondisabled people, including family members, friends, medical and rehabilitation specialists, etc. to interact more smoothly with disabled people.
Although the sudden acquisition of disability is usually regarded as an extremely negative event, this study concludes that the six men have experienced positive growth. They have developed more ethnorelative worldviews, and they have successfully adapted to their disabilities.
From the 164 pages of interview transcriptions, more than I 0 pages of direct quotations appear in this thesis in an attempt to accurately retell the stories of these six men.
Berglund, Jeffrey L.. (2009). The effects of acquired disability on interpersonal relationships in Japan : an intercultural approach. University of the Pacific, Thesis - Pacific Access Restricted. https://scholarlycommons.pacific.edu/uop_etds/726
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