Goal instability and adjustment to physical disability

Academic Article


  • Few studies have examined psychoanalytic constructs in the adjustment of individuals with physical disability. According to H. Kohut (1977), optimal adjustment during life transitions is contingent on the individual's capacity for maintaining and pursuing meaningful goals, which reflects a stable sense of self. A series of studies was conducted to determine if goal instability would predict adjustment and health following disability. Goal instability was predictive of depressive behavior and acceptance of disability among individuals with recent-onset disability. Goal instability predicted subjective well-being 1 year later. Among community residents with a disability, goal instability was associated with life satisfaction; this relationship was not mediated by perceived stigma or community mobility. These findings indicate that a flexible yet durable goal orientation is associated with optimal psychological adjustment among individuals with a physical disability.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Elliott TR; Uswatte G; Lewis L; Palmatier A
  • Start Page

  • 251
  • End Page

  • 265
  • Volume

  • 47
  • Issue

  • 2