International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health: An Introduction for Rehabilitation Psychologists

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The International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) represents a new way for rehabilitation psychologists and other health care providers to classify health and functioning. The ICF classifies functioning and disability through the constructs of Body Functions and Structures and Activities and Participation and addresses contextual influences through Environmental and Personal Factors. The ICF and its companion classification, the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, Tenth Revision, provide a complementary, broad, and meaningful picture of the health of an individual or of entire populations. Research and clinical implementation efforts suggest that the ICF is a useful and meaningful public health tool. The development of the ICF and its universe and scope of application are reviewed. Critical concepts are defined, the structure of the ICF is illustrated, and clinical-research utility are featured in light of the ethical considerations for responsible use by rehabilitation psychologists.

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