Physically Broken, Eternally Whole: Examining the Diverse Experience of People Living with an Ambulatory Disability




Tran, Doan

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Physical limitations are the most common forms of disability. The lives of people living with this type of disability can be deeply complex as they navigate frequent inconveniences. Religion serves as a helpful coping mechanism for many of these individuals, according to a substantial literature of peer-reviewed studies. This thesis project first surveys the existing literature on religion and disability, as well as describing the primary teachings on disability of Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Christianity. Next, a series of interviews are conducted with eight individuals with ambulatory disabilities who live in the United States, Vietnam, and the Philippines from Protestant, Catholic, Buddhist, and non-religious backgrounds. These interviews document their experiences, as well as the role of faith in coping with their limitations. Common themes were identified throughout these respective narratives. Finally, a discussion is provided of the implications of this study for churches, healthcare providers, and families to better care for those living with a disability.