Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Dallas, Bryan

Second Advisor

Long, Greg

Degree Name

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)

Legacy Department

School of Interdisciplinary Health Professions


This narrative research study used the Life Story Interview, within a participatory action framework, to explore how various psychosocial factors and experiences have impacted the disability identity development of people who are blind. The study sample consisted of eight individuals (ages 23-61) who self-identified as people with congenital blindness. Participants were recruited using selective sampling and snowball sampling techniques in collaboration with members of the National Federation of the Blind and others in the disability community. In-depth interviews were conducted with participants in accordance with methodological standards of the Life Story Interview to collect data in the form of the self-narrated life story. Thematic analysis techniques were used to identify themes of disability identity, with an emphasis on identity development within the context of interpersonal and societal interactions. Data were further analyzed to test for the alignment of themes generated from the narratives with thematic components of Gill’s first type of disability integration. Results from the analysis supported Gill’s model as a solid and applicable framework through which to explore the disability identity development of people who are blind. Findings from this study also contribute important data to the growing body of literature on disability identity development.


251 pages




Northern Illinois University

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