Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology

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Volume 12 Issue 6 (November/December 2002), Pages 377-450

Self‐esteem, stigma and community participation amongst people with learning difficulties living in the community (pages 430-443)


A cross‐sectional study examined the relationship between self‐esteem, community participation, age, perceived stigma and social support amongst a sample of 50 people with mild to moderate learning difficulties attending two day centres. Respondent‐paced, structured interviews following ethical and assessment guidelines were used to gather data. Retest interviews were conducted with 20% of the sample 3 months subsequently and only those measures with good test–retest reliability were used to test hypotheses. The results showed fairly high levels of community participation and self‐esteem. Self‐esteem was negatively correlated with stigma and a sub‐group with high concerns regarding meeting strangers was identified. In accordance with studies of non‐disabled samples, self‐esteem was positively associated with age. Social support was comparable to, or higher than, that observed in non‐disabled samples. High social support was observed for staff going out with respondents and for practical help from liked persons and friends. Community participation appeared to be related to higher self‐esteem in older participants but lower self‐esteem in younger participants. Implications for future research and practice are discussed. Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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