Rethinking disability: the social model of disability and chronic disease

  • Sara GoeringEmail author
Ethics (CR MacKenzie and I de Melo-Martín, Section Editors)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Ethics


Disability is commonly viewed as a problem that exists in a person’s body and requires medical treatment. The social model of disability, by contrast, distinguishes between impairment and disability, identifying the latter as a disadvantage that stems from a lack of fit between a body and its social environment. This paper describes the social model of disability and then considers how it might deal with chronic disease or impairment and why medical professionals should learn about disability perspectives to improve their practice.


Disability Impairment Chronic disease Social model 


Compliance with Ethics Guidelines

Conflict of Interest

Sara Goering declares that she has no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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