Michael Winkelman and Johanna Shapiro
The article reports a study of psychosocial adaptation of orthopedically disabled children and their siblings in Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico to determine if the psychodynamic of disability documented in U.S. studies is also found in this group. This was achieved by an examination of disabled-nondisabled differences through comparison of children with disabilities and their siblings on a wide range of psychosocial variables, and assessment of the relationship of disability, school and family factors to behavior problems and self-esteem. The investigation used multiple methods of evaluation, including assessment of physical, behavioral, social, and psychological adaptation. Findings include many predicted differences between disabled and nondisabled children on measures of adjustment, self-esteem and professional expectations; negative correlation of self-esteem with disability; an increase in behavior problems with poor self-esteem; and a decrease in behavior problems with improved self-esteem and increased family and social activities.