College Students with Physical Disabilities: Myths and Realities


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Abstract

ABSTRACT.This investigation (1) explored affect concerning interaction between nondisabled individuals and people with various disabilities, (2) examined stereotyping by both disabled and nondisabled students, (3) compared aspects of the self-concepts of nondisabled and disabled persons, and (4) evaluated nondisabled individuals' beliefs about these. Results show that nondisabled college students were less comfortable with disabled than with able-bodied peers. Students with disabilities, although equally comfortable with nondisabled individuals and with those who have the same disability as they do, were as uncomfortable as able-bodied individuals with peers who have a disability different from their own. Wheelchair user, visually impaired, and nondisabled college students had similar self-esteem, social anxiety, dating anxiety, and dating behavior. When predicting the responses of others, nondisabled students scored both able-bodied and disabled peers lower on most dimensions of self-concept than the actual scores of these groups indicate. Differences were greatest, however, between the self-concepts of people with disabilities and nondisabled individuals' beliefs about these. Furthermore, students with disabilities shared the myths believed by their nondisabled peers.

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