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Mortality Salience and Positive Affect Influence Adolescents' Attitudes Toward Peers with Physical Disabilities: Terror Management and Broaden and Build Theories

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Attitudes toward teenagers with and without physical disabilities, and their social acceptance, were examined from the perspective of terror management theory and the broaden and build theory. Participants (n = 390, aged 13-17) were divided into 3 experimental conditions: positive emotions, mortality salience, and control. Then, they were shown either a picture depicting an adolescent sitting on a regular chair or in a wheelchair and were asked to assess the characteristics of the person in the picture and their willingness to be in his or her company. The findings suggest that both types of manipulations enhanced the personality assessment and social acceptance of adolescents with disabilities compared to adolescents without disabilities and compared to the control condition. Girls reported more favorable attitudes toward another adolescent than boys did. The study indicates that seemingly contradictory manipulations may lead to social acceptance of adolescents with disabilities.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: The Louis and Gabi Weisfeld School of Social Work, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat Gan, Israel

Publication date: January 1, 2011

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