ERIC Number: ED025226
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1968-Feb-1
Reference Count: 0
Connotative Meaning of Disability Labels under Standard and Ambiguous Test Conditions.
Semmel, Melvyn I.
At the George Peabody College for Teachers, Nashville, Tennessee, 50 male students responded to a questionnaire concerning their reactions to individuals having mental or physical disabilities, to persons of another race, and to gifted persons. The 20 questions (scale items) focused on association with 12 types of "disabled" persons (disability labels). The test was designed to explore connotative reactions to different disability labels when personal involvement is implied, and was administered under standard and ambiguous testing conditions. In the ambiguous condition, the questionnaire minus the scale items was used and the students were asked to repeat their original responses from memory. Disability labels used were: epileptic, mentally retarded, blind, cerebral palsied, gifted, Negro, crippled, emotionally disturbed, deaf, amputee, normal, and stutterer. Although not considered disability labels, gifted and Negro were included for separate interpretations of sub-scale and total scale scores. The 20 items ranged from "How would you feel about talking in public with each of the persons listed?" to "How would you feel about marrying each of the persons listed?" Answers were made along a 5-point comfort-discomfort continuum to which weights (1 through 5 for intensity of feeling) were assigned. The results confirmed the hypothesis that connotative meanings are commonly assigned to mentally and physically handicapped persons by non-disabled groups in our society, and that this attitude is extended to members of racial minorities. (WM)
Publication Type: N/A
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Education (DHEW), Washington, DC. Bureau of Research.
Authoring Institution: Michigan Univ., Ann Arbor. Center for Research on Language and Language Behavior.
Note: Submitted to USOE as one of the Studies in Language and Language Behavior, Progress Report VI, February 1, 1968.