Blaming the victim, all over again: Waddell and Aylward's biopsychosocial (BPS) model of disability

Shakespeare, Tom, Watson, Nicholas and Abu Alghaib, Ola (2017) Blaming the victim, all over again: Waddell and Aylward's biopsychosocial (BPS) model of disability. Critical Social Policy, 37 (1). pp. 22-41. ISSN 0261-0183

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The biopsychosocial (BPS) model of mental distress, originally conceived by the American psychiatrist George Engel in the 1970s and commonly used in psychiatry and psychology, has been adapted by Gordon Waddell and Mansell Aylward to form the theoretical basis for current UK Government thinking on disability. Most importantly, the Waddell and Aylward version of the BPS has played a key role as the Government has sought to reform spending on out-of- work disability benefits. This paper presents a critique of Waddell and Aylward’s model, examining its origins, its claims and the evidence it employs. We will argue that its potential for genuine inter-disciplinary cooperation and the holistic and humanistic benefits for disabled people as envisaged by Engel are not now, if they ever have been, fully realized. Any potential benefit it may have offered has been eclipsed by its role in Coalition/Conservative government social welfare policies that have blamed the victim and justified restriction of entitlements.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: disability classification,welfare benefits,assessment,employment
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Norwich Medical School
Depositing User: Pure Connector
Date Deposited: 14 Apr 2016 10:00
Last Modified: 08 Sep 2021 01:04
DOI: 10.1177/0261018316649120

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