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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Marcella H. Sorg, RN, PhD (University of Maine)
Description: This edited book reports the cross-cultural research undertaken to revise the World Health Organization's (WHO) International Classification of Functioning and Disability (ICIDH-2), providing an evidence-based argument for a universal model of disability.
Purpose: The purpose, which is largely achieved, is to present the research methods and results of a major cross-cultural study of disability, providing evidence leading to a revision of the World Health Organization's disability assessment and classification system. Last updated for 1980, this system was in need of revision, particularly to reflect changes in the way health and human service professionals conceptualize wellness and disability.
Audience: The book is written for a broad, interdisciplinary and cross-cultural readership of professionals in health and human services. Its clear language and straightforward organization make it accessible for both practitioners and students. In addition, and perhaps unintended, the book will be of basic research interest to medical anthropologists/sociologists who study cross-cultural issues in the perception of health and disease. There are seven editors; four represent WHO's Assessment, Classification and Epidemiology Group; three are from universities in the U.S., Canada, and Sweden. The lead eidtor was principal investigator of a major grant from the National Institutes of Health that supported the research. Chapter authors represent 15 collaborating centers from 13 countries.
Features: The three sections of the book review the qualitative and quantitative approaches taken in the ICIDH-2 Cross-Cultural Applicability (CAR) Study. The three chapters in Part 1 quite thoroughly address theory and methods and demonstrate the connection between this work and previously published literature. Part 2 contains chapters from each of the 15 collaborating centers: Cambodia, Canada, Greece, India (Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi), Japan, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Nigeria, Romania, Spain, Tunisia, Turkey, and United Kingdom. Each of the chapters on single cultures is organized in parallel for maximum comparison between cultures. Part 3 includes three chapters reporting the results, which are highly integrated. There is a very solid and well-chosen bibliography, but regrettably there is no index. Research results are illustrated with extensive tables and simple graphs, all black and white.
Assessment: This is truly a formidable and unique contribution. The simple language and organization belie the complexity of the project and of its results. The researchers have implemented a very well-designed study and brought it to a productive conclusion. More than that, they present results with substantial detail, rigor, and cultural sensitivity in an interdisciplinary, accessible vocabulary.