Collaboration in the Marriage Relationship among Persons with Disabilities

Celia H. Schulz


This study reports on a subset of data obtained from a larger study. A qualitative study of persons with disabilities was conducted to examine the phenomenon of collaboration with others in their lives. Participants were administered two semi-structured in-person interviews about their experiences with collaboration. Each of the participants were then observed as they collaborated with others in their lives in two participant observation sessions. Since not all participants were married, selected data relevant to the marriage collaboration from interviews and participant observation sessions of a subgroup of four married study participants were then isolated and coded using open coding analysis. Accuracy of data was insured through the use of triangulation via multiple coders and member checking. The analyzed data fell into five large categories: 1) Practical Considerations; 2) Collaboration on Occupation; 3) Structures and Patterns of Collaboration; 4) Social Considerations; and 5) The Qualities that Make the Marriage Collaboration Exceptional. Data indicated that study participants collaborated with their spouses in a variety of ways over time and that there were qualities in their collaborations with their spouses which indicated a high level of mutual respect and love. Some unique issues in the marriage collaboration for people with disabilities also emerged, such as feelings of imbalance in the contributions to the marriage regarding physical tasks, a need for alone time or -conversely- a fear of being alone.


collaboration; marriage; disability

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Copyright (c) 2008 Celia H. Schulz

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