"Just Sit Down So We Can Talk:" Perceived Stigma and Community Recreation Pursuits of People with Disabilities
Keywords:Perceived Stigma, Labeling, Community Recreation, Disability, Helplessness, Resistance, Yielding
AbstractResearch shows that leisure can provide mental and physical benefits to individuals with disabilities. Unfortunately, many individuals with disabilities are denied these benefits through attitudinal as well as architectural barriers. Research by West (1984) suggested that the perception as well as the practice of negative attitudes can prevent individuals from pursuing satisfying leisure activities in the community. The purpose of this study, therefore, was to follow up on West's (1984) work and explore the perceptions of stigma and subsequent responses to those perceptions in adults with disabilities in community recreation experiences. In-depth interviews were conducted with 15 respondents with physical and/or psychological disabilities. Qualitative data analysis uncovered themes that suggested three different responses to negative attitudinal experiences in community recreation pursuits: (a) becoming helpless, (b) resisting the stigma, or (c) yielding and embracing their situation. Implications and recommendations for both practitioners and researchers are presented.
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