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The Process of Perceiving Stigmatization: Perspectives from Taiwanese Young People with Intellectual Disability

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Background  There is a dearth of studies about the causes of stigmatization in people with intellectual disability. This study is aimed at gaining an understanding of how feelings of stigmatization are formed and perceived among young people with intellectual disability in Taiwanese cultural and social contexts.

Materials and Methods  Fourteen young people with intellectual disability, ranging in age from 17 to 22 years, participated in this study. Data were collected and analysed using grounded theory.

Results  Three persistent themes were noted in regard to the formation of feelings of stigmatization among these young people with intellectual disability. (i) Being labelled: the sources of their stigma often resulted from the educational and social welfare systems. (ii) Perceiving oneself: they viewed themselves as ‘not good’ students, as troublemakers, as sick people and as odd people. (iii) Living with the labelling: they attempted to manage the impression that their intellectual disability had on others by using avoidance, isolation and self‐promotion.

Conclusions  Stigmatization among this intellectual disability group is invisibly formed while attending school and receiving social services. The value of the intellectual performance is not yet waived for young people with intellectual disability in Taiwan. Changing the social opinions of intellectual disability can help to avoid stigmatizing these people with intellectual disability.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Institute of Allied Health Sciences, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan 2: Department of Nursing, Institute of Allied Health Sciences, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan

Publication date: May 1, 2012

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