The Poverty Disability Model proposes four groups of poverty risk factors that could cause or worsen disability:
- Low social standing
- Unsafe living conditions
- High levels of daily survival stress
- Negative group influences
It’s important for vocational rehabilitation counselors to provide consumers in poverty with supporting services to reduce the risk of worsening or acquiring disability. The Poverty Disability Model helps counselors understand some of the reasons that people in poverty are more at risk for disability and how these risks can create barriers to employment:
- Lower social standing can result in restricted access to resources that could prevent a disability from developing.
- Dangerous homes and neighborhoods increase the likelihood that a person will be injured and acquire a disability.
- The constant stress of meeting immediate survival needs makes decision-making and attaining long-range goals difficult.
- Limited access to social connections limit ability to find and get jobs.
- Opportunities to learn how to behave in a workplace setting are limited.
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More About the Research
The Poverty Disability Model provided a simplified view of the complicated relationship between poverty and disability. The research laid a foundation for further investigation into the variables affecting the model and encouraged a bottom-up approach in testing relationships and variables.
Lustig, D.C., & Strauser, D. R. (2007). Causal relationships between poverty and disability. Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin, 50 (4), 194-202.
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