The social identity approach to disability: Bridging disability studies and psychological science.

Although mainstream psychology has received numerous critiques for its traditional approaches to disability-related research, proposals for alternative theory that can encompass the social, cultural, political, and historical features of disability are lacking. The social identity approach (SIA) offers a rich framework from which to ask research questions about the experience of disability in accordance with the critical insights found in disability studies (DS), the source for many of the most compelling critiques of disability psychology research. We review existing research considering the complementary social identity (Tajfel & Turner, 1979) and self-categorization (Turner, Hogg, Reicher, & Wetherell, 1987) theories to support our contention that the disability social category is a significant driving force in the psychological experience of disability and to demonstrate the theoretical utility of the SIA. We suggest that a bridge between the critical epistemological perspectives found in disability studies and the methodological rigor and theoretical breadth and parsimony of a social identity approach is essential for examining the social psychological experience of disability in the 21st century. To conclude we explore the emergent possibilities for research in psychological science that can follow from a social identity approach to disability. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)