ERIC Number: ED241862
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Aug
Reference Count: 0
Describing the Recipients of Rehabilitation Services: Which Way Is Best?
Hannah, Mary Elizabeth; Midlarsky, Elizabeth
Although community-based treatment strategies have gained in prominence, recipients of those services still suffer from negative labeling and public reactions. To investigate differential effects of labels and/or descriptions of handicaps on attitudes toward disabilities, two studies were conducted. In the first study, 140 college students (65% white, 35% black) completed the Attitude Toward Disabled Persons (ATDP) Scale under two stimulus conditions (labels or descriptions). An analysis of the results showed that for amputee, blind, deaf, severely mentally retarded, and psychotic, there were no significant differences in the social distance scores under the two stimulus conditions. In contrast to the lower social distance scores for the labeling of alcoholics, diabetics, epileptics, ex-convicts, and ulcer patients, neurotics received significantly lower social distance scores in the description condition. In the second study, 209 college students (52% white, 48% nonwhite) completed the ATDP under three stimulus conditions (labels, descriptions, labels and descriptions). An analysis of the results showed that for deaf, diabetic, epileptic, ex-convict and ulcer patients, exposure to descriptions led to significantly greater social distance scores than did exposure to the labels. On the other hand, for epilepsy, diabetes and ulcers, the labeled descriptions resulted in lower social distance than the unlabeled descriptions. For the epileptic, the description led to significantly greater social distance than did either the label or the labeled description. The findings indicate that the choice of how to label the handicapped is a complex matter, dependent on the specific disabilities and on the nature of prevailing stereotypes about the disabilities. (BL)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Practitioners; Researchers
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Behavior Descriptions; Social Distance
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (91st, Anaheim, CA, August 26-30, 1983).