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Do Reactions of Adaptation to Disability Influence the Fluctuation of Future Time Orientation Among Individuals with Spinal Cord Injuries?

Researchers have found that an individual's time orientation can have a powerful influence on his or her thoughts and behavior and that this orientation may be altered after one experiences a traumatic event. Future time orientation (FTO) is an important factor for rehabilitation counselors when constructing vocational goals with individuals with disabilities. This article defines future time orientation as "an individual's degree of general concern, engagement, and involvement in the future". Martz (2004) hypothesizes in this study that shock, anxiety, denial, depression, internalized anger, and externalized hostility related to experiencing a traumatic event, will be negatively related to future time orientation and that acknowledgment and adjustment will be positively related to future time orientation.

This study researches a population of 317 veterans and civilians with spinal cord injuries. These individuals vary in severity of disability. Participants completed the Future Time Orientation Scale instrument measuring future time orientation, the Reactions to Impairment and Disability Inventory, measuring adaptation, as well as four questions from the American Injury Association Impairment Scale which measured severity of disability. Results showed that after controlling for specific demographic and disability related variables, the eight reactions of adaptation to disability (shock, anxiety, denial, depression, internalized anger, externalized hostility, acknowledgment, and adjustment) explained 24% of the variance in FTO. Out of the eight reactions of adaptation to disability, shock, depression, and acknowledgment were found to significantly predict variance in FTO among individuals with SCI.

The facilitation of greater FTO in clients may be integral to achieving the long-term, career-focused planning that is emphasized in rehabilitation counseling. Martz (2004) suggest that rehabilitation counselors should:

  • Identify when individuals seem uninterested in planning for his or her future and recognize that this may be based on a truncated sense of future.
  • Encourage a future orientation outlook by addressing individual's reactions to the existence of a disability.
  • Refer individuals to therapy if shock and depression are identified in a customer in order to prevent the effects on FTO.
  • Encourage individuals to how their disability may affect their goals and future plans.

Reference:

Martz, E. (2004). Do Reactions of Adaptation to Disability Influence the Fluctuation of Future Time Orientation Among Individuals with Spinal Cord Injuries?. Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin, 47(2), 86-95.

 


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