"One lady was so busy staring at me she walked into a wall": Interability Relations from the Perspective of Women with Disabilities


  • Joan M. Ostrove
  • Danette Crawford




Disability Studies, Women with Disabilities, Stigma, Intergroup relations


Psychology research and intervention in intergroup relations has been largely influenced by Allport's (1954) contact theory. Intergroup attitudes in the domain of disability have also been well established. These research areas, however, tend not to take into account the perspective or experiences of target group members. The current research attempts to take such an insider's perspective (Oyserman & Swim, 2001). This study presents data from in-depth interviews with 19 women with disabilities who were asked to describe the qualities of negative and positive interactions and relationships with non-disabled people. The women reported being treated with condescension and pity in their general interactions with non-disabled people. While many of the interviewees had difficulty thinking of specific positive interactions with non-disabled people in their day-to-day lives, they could easily enumerate the qualities of such interactions: eye contact was made and maintained, tone of voice was not condescending, non-disabled people were respectful and knowledgeable.