Perceived social support, psychological adjustment, and functional ability in youths with physical disabilities

Sylia Wilson, Lindsay A. Washington, Joyce M. Engel, Marcia A. Ciol, Mark P. Jensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

25 Scopus citations


Objective: To examine the relationship between perceived social support and psychological adjustment and functional ability in youths with physical disabilities. Participants: Thirty-seven youths with neuromuscular disease and 33 with spina bifida. Measures: Demographic and disability-related questions, Child Health Questionnaire, Functional Disability Inventory, and Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support. Results: Social support from family, but not from friends, was significantly associated with better psychological adjustment. Significant interactions emerged between family support and age, as well as between friend support and gross motor functioning, in the prediction of functional ability. Conclusions: Social support appears to play an important role in psychological adjustment and functional ability in this population, and the nature of this role may be moderated, to some extent, by age and gross motor functioning. Future research and clinical implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)322-330
Number of pages9
JournalRehabilitation Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1 2006
Externally publishedYes



  • Functional ability
  • Neuromuscular disease
  • Physical disabilities
  • Psychological adjustment
  • Social support
  • Spina bifida

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