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Disabil Rehabil. 2008;30(12-13):978-90. doi: 10.1080/09638280701797549.

Using the ICF to code and analyse women's disability narratives.

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Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan, Detroit, Michigan 48201, USA.



This article describes the use of the World Health Organization's (WHO) International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) as a conceptual framework for processing and analyzing the narratives of 50 community-dwelling women with a spinal cord injury. The women were participants in a federally-funded study of stress and coping over the life course.


The paper describes the development of a coding scheme and data reduction techniques used to process qualitative data.


The initial results of three phases of data analysis are then presented: (i) the construction of matrices to display data so as to permit pattern finding; (ii) the mapping of specific ICF codes to text to produce a more finely grained analysis of environment-related stressors, and (iii) a thematic analysis of text depicting the dynamics of person-environment interaction.


Of potential value to the further elaboration of the ICF is a fleshing out of the personal factors component of the ICF and the provision of a context-driven, process view of person-environment interaction. It is hoped that this article will stimulate continued discussion of person-level factors. The concept of coupling suggests also a need to focus research attention on the bi-directional and ever evolving linkages connecting person to environment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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