ERIC Number: ED023239
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1967
Reference Count: N/A
The Cloak of Competence; Stigma in the Lives of the Mentally Retarded.
Edgerton, Robert B.
The research staff contacted 53 mentally handicapped patients (mean age 34.3, mean IQ 65.3; 28 women, 25 men) discharged from a state hospital training and rehabilitation program. The 48 who cooperated were interviewed and studied for the ways in which they managed their lives and perceived themselves. No difference was found between the success of community adjustment by those above or below an IQ of 70. None of those studied would admit to mental retardation, and all had built stories to excuse their mental and social incompetence and their hospital stay, and to maintain their self esteem. Their sterilization was a major factor in their inadequate self concept but not in marital adjustment itself; sexual behavior did not differ from that of the general population. Nine of the 20 men were married, two to normal wives whom they supported, and 20 of the 28 women were married, 16 to normal men. Benefactors were found to be present and necessary in all cases to assist the ex-patients in coping with life and basic needs, and generally aided them to pass as normal. Motivation of benefactors always involved altruistic reasons and usually practical ones: 12 were supervisors in sanitariums or restaurants which regularly recruited those discharged from the state hospital; 13 were spouses or lovers, most of whom enjoyed a dominant relationship; 10 were close relatives; and 10 were neighbors or landladies.(SN)
Descriptors: Adjustment (to Environment), Adults, Emotional Adjustment, Employer Employee Relationship, Exceptional Child Research, Family Relationship, Friendship, Marital Status, Mental Retardation, Role Conflict, Self Concept, Self Esteem, Social Adjustment, Vocational Adjustment
University of California Press, Berkeley, California 94720 ($5.75).
Publication Type: N/A
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A