A COMPARISON BETWEEN MENTALLY RETARDED PERSONS' PSYCHOSOCIAL PERCEPTIONS OF THEMSELVES AND OF OTHERS SIMILARLY LABELED
AuthorEvenson, Thomas Lyle
AdvisorFisher, Thomas L.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe purpose of this study was to determine how mentally retarded persons accept or reject their disability by comparing perceptions that retarded individuals hold of themselves with their perceptions of persons labeled as mentally retarded. The study was also designed to compare perceptions that retarded individuals hold of themselves with their perceptions of persons with no disability label. Finally, the study was designed to compare perceptions that retarded individuals hold of persons labeled as mentally retarded with their perceptions of persons with no disability label. The subjects of this study were 48 males and 48 females from sheltered workshops in Arizona. All subjects were identified as mentally retarded by professional staff from the rehabilitation facilities and voluntarily participated in the study. The subjects were randomly assigned to one of six experimental groups. In Group 1, subjects successfully performed an assembly test and evaluated themselves; in Group 2, subjects failed on the assembly test and evaluated themselves. Subjects in Group 3 evaluated a person labeled as mentally retarded after observing that person successfully complete the assembly test; subjects in Group 4 evaluated the same labeled person after observing that person fail on the assembly test. Members of Group 5 observed an unlabeled person succeed at the assembly test and evaluated that person, and members of Group 6 evaluated the same unlabeled person after observing that person fail on the assembly test. A factorial design varying target persons (self vs. person labeled as mentally retarded vs. person with no label) and performance outcomes (success vs. failure) on the assembly test was employed. The dependent variables were: (1) each subject's assessment of the cause of the target person's performance outcome as measured by the Causal Attribution Scale; (2) each subject's description of the target person as measured by the Semantic Differential and the Adjective Checklist; and, (3) each subject's expectations of the target person as measured by the Expectancy Questionnaire. Rank mean scores on each instrument were produced for the experimental groups and analyzed by Mann-Whitney U tests. In general, the results of the study indicated that mentally retarded persons do not perceive extensive differences between themselves and persons who are identified as being mentally retarded. Similarly, someone labeled as mentally retarded is not perceived in any more less favorable terms than a person who is not identified as being mentally retarded.
Degree ProgramGraduate College