Implicit and explicit stereotype content associated with people with physical disability: Does sport change anything?

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Abstract

Objectives:

This article examines whether sports practice can influence the stereotype content associated with people with physical disability from the viewpoint of people without disability.

Design:

Both implicit and explicit stereotypes were assessed for people with disability compared with people without disability (Study 1), people with disability who engage in sport compared with people without disability (Study 2), and people with disability who engage in sport compared with people with disability (Study 3).

Method:

Participants (NStudy1 = 57, NStudy 2 = 61, NStudy 3 = 63) performed a warmth-Implicit Association Test and a competence-Implicit Association Test and were asked to rate how strongly they associated a series of warmth and competence traits with one or the other group of people.

Results:

In Study 1, people with disability were implicitly associated with less positivity and explicitly associated with higher warmth but lower competence than people without disability. The same results were found in Study 2. In Study 3, people with disability who engage in sport were explicitly associated with higher warmth and competence than people with disability but this result failed to emerge at an implicit level.

Conclusions:

The influence of practicing sport on the stereotype content associated with people with physical disability seems less consistent than has been assumed thus far. The results suggest the need for further study of the implicit stereotype content concerning people with disability and the types of information that might weaken the link between disability and negativity.

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