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Res Dev Disabil. 2008 Mar-Apr;29(2):125-32. Epub 2007 Mar 7.

Effects of age, gender, and causality on perceptions of persons with mental retardation.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, The Ohio State University at Newark, University Drive, Newark, OH 43055, USA. <>


The present study examined the effects of age, gender, and causality on the perceptions of persons with mental retardation. Participants rated individuals with mental retardation using a semantic differential scale with three factors: activity, evaluation, and potency. Target individuals in each scenario varied on the variables of age (8, 20, 45), gender (male, female), and causality of mental retardation (genetic, self-inflicted, inflicted by others). Perceptions differed significantly according to causality, with those with mental retardation due to inheritance/genetics (Down Syndrome) evaluated most positively and those whose mental retardation was self-inflicted viewed most negatively (brain damage due to drinking cleaning fluid). Female participants gave higher ratings than male participants for target subjects on evaluation and potency factors. Implications of findings for persons with mental retardation are discussed.

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