Social Stigma and Community Recreation Participation by the Mentally and Physically Handicapped


  • Patrick C. West


social stigma, community recreation, physically handicapped, mentally retarded, mentally ill, parks and recreation areas


This paper presents research results on social stigma barriers to community recreation participation by the mentally and physically handicapped. Depth interviews with 180 physically handicapped, mentally retarded, and mentally ill persons from community and institutional residential settings were conducted to determine (a) their perception of negative, stigmatizing attitudes toward the handicapped, and (b) the degree to which these perceptions of community stigma restrict participation by the handicapped in community recreation. The study found that many handicapped people do perceive, and are affected by community stigma. Those with highly visible impairments are most likely to have experienced negative community reactions. The perception of stigmatizing attitudes leads to restricted recreation participation for some handicapped people, but not for others.



Research Papers