On self-identity: the process of inclusion of individuals with intellectual disabilities in the military

Shirli Werner*, Yael Hochman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Purpose: Identity development among individuals with disabilities may depend on their being included in central institutions in society. The centrality of the military in Israeli society makes it a highly important setting for inclusion and identity development. We examined the self-identity of young adults with intellectual disabilities who serve in the “Equal in Uniform” project. Material and methods: Forty-nine interviews were conducted with 31 individuals with intellectual disabilities. Results: Findings showed that military service helped develop the identity of soldiers, which enhanced their self-efficacy. Participants described their participation in the military as an opportunity to take an active part in socially valued roles. Conclusions: Findings are discussed with reference to the effect of the project on the self-identity of individuals with intellectual disabilities. The meaning of successfully serving in socially valued roles for self-efficacy is discussed.Implications for rehabilitation Completing socially valued roles leads to greater self-efficacy, enhanced self-esteem and greater psychological well-being among individuals with intellectual disabilities. Inclusion of individuals with intellectual disabilities within a central community setting (specifically the military) allows them to deal with issues of identity development, as it does for other young people without intellectual disabilities. Receiving ongoing positive input from others for one’s abilities and success is a conducive factor in positive identity formation.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1639-1646
Number of pages8
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation
Issue number14
StatePublished - 3 Jul 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, © 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Identity
  • military
  • participation
  • self-esteem
  • socially valued roles


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