A Content Analysis of Research on Disability: American Counseling Association Journals between 2003 and 2013

By Woo, Hongryun; Goo, Minkowan et al. | Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development, October 2016 | Go to article overview

A Content Analysis of Research on Disability: American Counseling Association Journals between 2003 and 2013


Woo, Hongryun, Goo, Minkowan, Lee, Myungkyung, Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development


This content analysis provides an overview of disability articles published in 10 major American Counseling Association journals between 2003 and 2013. In addition to the number of disability articles published during this time period, other content areas such as authorship and institutional contributors; methodology, location, and application settings; target populations and sample characteristics; type of disabilities; and topics of interest are identified. Recommendations for counseling scholars to increase the scope of research on disability are provided.

Keywords: content analysis, disability, diversity, counseling

Este analisis de contenido proporciona una vision general de los articulos sobre discapacidad publicados en 10 revistas principales de la Asociacion Americana de Consejeria (American Counseling Association) entre 2003 y 2013. Ademas del numero de articulos sobre discapacidad publicados durante este periodo, se identifican otras areas de contenidos, como la autoria y contribuidores institucionales, la metodologia, ubicacion y lugares de aplicacion, las poblaciones observadas y caracteristicas de los grupos de muestra, los tipos de discapacidad, y los temas de interes. Se proporcionan recomendaciones para que los expertos academicos en consejeria puedan ampliar el alcance de las investigaciones sobre discapacidad.

Palabras clave: analisis de contenido, discapacidad, diversidad, consejeria

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Over the past few decades, counselor training in the development of social justice, advocacy, and multicultural competencies has gained increased attention in the counseling profession (Arredondo et al., 1996; Myers, Sweeney, & White, 2002). Many counseling scholars (e.g., Arredondo & Arciniega, 2001; Constantine, Hage, Kindaichi, & Bryant, 2007; Sue & Sue, 1990) and professional counseling organizations (e.g., American Counseling Association [ACA], 2014; Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development [AMCD; Sue, Arredondo, & McDavis, 1992]; Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs, 2015) have emphasized the importance of training counselors to have multicultural sensitivity, knowledge, and skills to work effectively and ethically with culturally diverse client populations. Although racial/ethnic, gender, and socioeconomic diversity have been widely discussed in the counseling literature (see Arredondo, Rosen, Rice, Perez, & Tovar-Gamero, 2005), topics related to disability and/or populations with disability as one aspect of diversity have been overlooked (Henwood & Pope-Davis, 1994). The present study aimed to address this void by examining the disability-specific discussion within 10 major ACA journals over the past 10 years.

disability populations in the united states and their needs in counseling

According to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, individuals with disabilities (IWDs) are defined as persons with "a physical or mental impairment, which substantially limits one or more major life activities." Disability is a natural element of human existence, and in fact, individuals with some type of disability make up the largest minority group in the United States (Americans With Disabilities Act [ADA], 1990; Artman & Daniels, 2010), composing approximately 12.3% of the total population (Brault, 2012). This population continues to grow as veterans with disabilities increase in number and IWDs have greater life expectancies (Elliott & Rath, 2012; Owens, Thomas, & Strong, 2011).

In the past, disability was generally discussed within the field of rehabilitation counseling, and IWDs were served mainly by rehabilitation counselors based on the misunderstanding that a client's disability was the most critical issue to address in counseling (Smart & Smart, 2006). However, because IWDs encounter diverse issues, including, but not limited to, personal adjustment to disability, developmental tasks, career aspirations and transitions, cultural identity, advocacy skills, and quality of life (Bishop & Feist-Price, 2002; Graf, Marini, & Blankenship, 2009; Hughes, 2009; Lewis, 2006; Olkin & Taliaferro, 2006), IWDs need the services of counseling professionals in various specialty areas. …

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