Physical Attractiveness and Attributions for Disability

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This study investigated the effect of physical attractiveness on forming impressions of a disabled person. Eighty undergraduate subjects answered questions about a person who had allegedly become a paraplegic as a result of an automobile accident. The accident victims who were rated varied in attractiveness and sex. The results demonstrated that subjects made different attributions for the accident and assigned more personal responsibility to the physically attractive victims. In contrast, the physically attractive victims were perceived to have a better prognosis for recovery than were the unattractive victims. These findings are discussed within the context of the “just world” hypothesis (Lerner, Miller, & Holmes, 1976), and suggestions for future research are presented.

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