Introduction: Research shows that occupational therapists and occupational therapy students are increasingly taking up positions in cross-cultural contexts where occupational form, social values and understanding of occupation are different to Western norms. It may be difficult for the occupational therapist to identify the implication of cultural differences. Method: This meta-synthesis investigated lived experience of physical disability in East and Southeast Asia with the aim of identifying local understandings of disability, using the technique of meta-ethnography as described by Noblit and Hare. Findings: Fourteen articles met the selection criteria and six overarching themes were identified concerning disability in Asia: theme (1), the influence of disability on relationships within primary groups; theme (2), journeys in resilience vary among individuals; theme (3), managing poor health makes disability difficult; theme (4), education is important and difficult for people with disabilities to achieve; theme (5), financial hardship is closely linked to disability; and theme (6), values and beliefs are enmeshed in the experiences of living with disabilities. Conclusion: There is a wide range of experiences of disability. Occupational therapy services and research may be more effective for people with disabilities in cross-cultural settings, when these factors are investigated and incorporated into practice.
British Journal of Occupational Therapy / Vol. 79, No. 9, pp.565-573