Objective: A fundamental principle of rehabilitation psychology is that individual appraisals of the social and physical environment-including injury itself-have profound consequences for coping and adjustment. When core assumptions of a just and predictable world are violated and accompanied by ostensibly undeserved suffering and loss, perceptions of injustice can arise. Given the role of appraisal processes in adjustment to disability, mounting empirical support, and absence of targeted interventions, the current article considers perceptions of injustice regarding personal injury/disability as a fundamental appraisal affecting rehabilitation outcomes.
Research method: The authors review theory underpinning the relevance of injustice appraisals and critically examine existing literature regarding the impact of perceived injustice and related constructs (i.e., attribution of blame, anger, and belief in a just world) on adjustment following injury.
Results: The authors bring attention to perceptions of injustice regarding personal injury/disability as a fundamental appraisal affecting rehabilitation outcomes. Dimensions of the social environment that have not received substantial attention in current research on condition-related injustice appraisals are highlighted.
Implications: Perceived injustice is a potentially central appraisal process to physical and psychological outcomes in the context of rehabilitation. Research regarding the role of perceived injustice, related constructs, and potential social/environmental modulators of injustice perception is still in its infancy. Guided buy its foundational principles, the field of rehabilitation psychology can broaden and shape inquiry regarding perceived injustice. This article aims to guide future research, offer concepts for key areas of discourse, and consider potential interventions in the rehabilitation psychology domain.
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