Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology

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Volume 13 Issue 4 (July/August 2003), Pages 269-333

‘They were brilliant, I don't know what I would've done if they hadn't been here’: the group concept problem revisited (pages 300-313)


This article concerns the group concept problem in people labelled as having learning disabilities, described in a series of papers by Gibbons and colleagues (Gibbons, 1981, 1985a, 1985b; Gibbons & Gibbons, 1980; Gibbons & Kassin, 1982). We argue that the interpretations of these studies are questionable, and alternative explanations for the patterns of results found are possible. Examples from a study in which people with the label talked about particular others who also have the label are presented. In these examples, the category was not represented as homogeneous, relationships with others were valued, and a desire for distance was only found when participants talked about people who behaved aggressively. The findings are discussed with reference to the social model of disability. Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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