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Stigma and the self-concept of people with a mild handicap

Jahoda A, Markova I & Cattermole M (1988) Stigma and the self-concept of people with a mild handicap. Journal of Mental Deficiency Research, 32 (2), pp. 103-115.

Twelve people with a mild mental handicap, their mothers and members of staff of Adult Training Centres were interviewed to explore their views on the subjects of stigma and handicap, and to establish the facts about the social life and autonomy of people with a mental handicap. It was found that all participants with a mental handicap were aware of the stigma attached to them. A minority of three conceived of themselves as ‘essentially different’ from non-handicapped people, while the majority of nine conceived of themselves as ‘essentially the same’. In contrast, the majority of mothers viewed their sons and daughters as ‘essentially different’ from non-handicapped people. These findings do not support the claim of the social constructionist theory of the self that people's self-concepts are primarily determined by the ways in which they are treated by the significant others. Rather, people with a mental handicap are aware of their own agency and clearly express their socio-emotional needs.

Journal of Mental Deficiency Research: Volume 32, Issue 2

Author(s)Jahoda, Andrew; Markova, Ivana; Cattermole, Martin
Publication date30/04/1988
Publication date online28/06/2008
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