Social Isolation of the Disabled
A Cogentica, LLC Company
Social isolation and disability harassment lead to loneliness and affects people with disabilities more than abled persons. Many disabled people lack social or emotional contact with friends or society. The absence of social contact has consequences such as negative self-esteem, low self-confidence, loneliness, and conflicts with families and friends. This paper seeks to point out the numerous implications of social isolation among people living with disabilities. Research has indicated that most disabled people do not choose to stay alone, but the society treats them differently, and they end up feeling lonely (Hernon et al., 2015). Abled persons also face social isolation out of choice or through circumstances such as retirement or bereavement. This paper utilizes cross-country statistics to evaluate the state of disabled people and the prevalence rate of isolation. The life expectancy of the disabled is lower since many do not lead a quality life; they are affected emotionally, psychologically, and socially. A significant percentage attempt suicide in the long run, when they can no longer bear the pain of isolation.
Most people seek human relationships or companionship because of the value these contacts add to life itself. Life is more productive, especially with the social connection, though still, solitude brings essential blend to life (Grue, 2016). The need for companionship, engagements and solitude form the uniqueness and texture in community and in personal relationships and personalities. Social engagement is vital and useful to the life of a human being regardless of their health condition (Grootegoed & Tonkens, 2017). Isolation is the act of distancing people, either psychologically or physically from their network of needed or desired relationships with others. Therefore, social separation is the damage of a place inside one’s social collection. Loneliness has its negative and positive effects depending on two factors, the personality of an individual and whether the isolation is voluntary or involuntary. Separation is socially related to feelings of loss or marginality, loneliness, or apartness (Harasemiw et al., 2018). When initiated voluntarily, isolation is accompanied by positive feelings as it fulfills the desire of the individual seeking to break away from a network. However, involuntary isolation brings about negative feelings to the isolated persons who may end up feeling less human and lose self-esteem.
According to statistics, the United Kingdom (U.K) and the United States (U.S) account for more than 13 million and 50 million disabled persons respectively ("NSIP -Basic Facts: People with Disabilities", 2019). The personal circumstances and nature of the impairments vary across the disabled. For instance, in the case of the U.S, approximately 20 million people have a severe disability while 30 million have functional limitations ("NSIP -Basic Facts: People with Disabilities", 2019). Chronic loneliness is one of the problems that the disabled community face in common, and the degree of isolation increases with the severity of the disability. Research indicates that 23% of the total population of disabled people in the U.K. confirmed to feelings of loneliness, while 53% of those in the USA are lonely (Hernon et al., 2015). The causes of loneliness vary from one individual to another, but the consequences are similar. Some of the common disabilities include autism, mobility and physical impairment, cognitive and learning impairment, spinal cord disability, and psychological disorders. Individuals with different types of disabilities do not face similar challenges, but they all are subjected to social isolation.
Depending on the severity of a disability or the willingness of a person, the limitation is an isolating experience. It is challenging to find non-disabled individuals who fully understand and empathize with the disabled since they all have unique experiences. The human rights commission of Australia ruled that disability can affect anyone at any stage of life, whether permanently or temporarily (Harasemiw et al., 2018). A person’s disability plays a huge role in one’s life, including oppressive attitudes, dwindling support, and lack of accessibility. Once people categorize one as disabled, opportunities for schooling, work, and socialization die out or reduce suddenly. Among adults of working age, only 29% of the disabled population in the U.S work part-time or full-time ("NSIP -Basic Facts: People with Disabilities", 2019). This is relatively low compared to non-disabled population where 79% of the working age work either part-time or full-time ("NSIP -Basic Facts: People with Disabilities", 2019). In the U.K, 46.5% of the working age disabled persons are in employment while the employment rate for the non-disabled persons is at 84% ("Key facts | Disabled Living Foundation", 2019). It is difficult to explain to a non-disabled person why one does not go out every weekend or engage in other activities since they will barely understand (Grue, 2016). Disabled people do not wish to be isolated, but at times it becomes hard for them when they believe they are a burden to others.
Disabled members of the society constantly battle isolation since the abled people find them more demanding than usual. Disabled people, especially those who have acquired their disability while younger, have shared about the social change that they experienced. In one instance, doctors diagnosed a grade four student with a brain tumor, and before the scheduled operation, the cancer had affected significant parts of his brain, leaving him disabled (Hernon et al., 2015). The student identified with social isolation shortly after, since all his friends could no longer wait for him; they moved onto having new friendships. He was left all alone, inferiority set in; he was in constant pain, but felt the need to remain focused in life. He had to make changes, including his personality and find other activities to participate in during his isolated moments. The consequent isolation and loneliness that this student felt is what more than 50% of the disabled people in the world face; they are embroiled in a world of loneliness with little hope of coming out of that cocoon. If a non-disabled individual misses a social event because they are nursing injuries or taken in the hospital, they experience a sense of loneliness albeit on a short-term basis (Hine & Mitchell, 2017). However, for disabled people, this is a constant feeling in every social place, school or at work.
When people in one’s social circle leave, the individual is left depressed, trying to understand how to make things right and how to have his friends back. When a disability knocks, and with the knowledge of it being a lifelong issue, most people are left lonely with no one to turn to for help (Warner & Adams, 2016). They become paranoid and question everything about themselves; many of them lose their self-esteem and confidence and drop out of school since they can no longer perform. They lose the will to fight for their place in life; their minds are crowded by negative thoughts, which hinder them from making progress in life (Grootegoed & Tonkens, 2017). Many unmarried disabled people end up never marrying or desiring to have a family since they are full of self-pity and thinking of themselves as failures. A mentioned earlier, some attempt suicide when feelings of loneliness make them feel unwanted.
Disabled people have problems in performing daily duties and getting access to places; hence, they need friends or others to assist them. Some have purchased vehicles and power wheelchairs, but in the end, they need people to get them into their cars and reach out to items on the shelves while shopping (Söderström, 2016). They also need friends to help them get home or to the hospital if necessary. This kind of demand is what the abled members of the society find too much to accord since it is out of the ordinary (Harasemiw et al., 2018). Some of these friends leave when they do not know how to continue caring for their disabled friend or when they feel inconvenienced.
Going out, making friends, meeting new people, and engaging in practical activities makes one feel like they have participated and or accepted in society. These feelings disappear when the disabled are left isolated, and they feel lonely for the better part of their lives (Macdonald et al., 2018). Loneliness contributes to stress which affects one’s health and contributes to premature death. From the studies, many disabled people rarely get to their old age because of health complications (Hernon et al., 2015). According to medical insurance statistics, many disabled people spend most of their time in the hospital or taking costly drugs to maintain their bodies. This issue has pushed academia and the government to find other means of salvaging the situation.
The care and attention that disabled members of the society require are only provided by bodies committed to their cause and nothing more. Some disabled people have booked buses or even visited public places only to find these places are inaccessible. The public areas, coaches, and some planes do not have provisions for disabled people; making them feel unwanted in the society (Hine & Mitchell, 2017). Countries, through parliament and other legislative bodies, have enacted laws which require social places and public infrastructure to have support and provisions for people living with disabilities. Since the disabled are vulnerable, all offices and agencies who serve the public should have a special and more streamlined process for the disabled (Grue, 2016). A simple procedure such as booking a plane or [train should be made seamless for the disabled to avoid escalating their stress levels. Despite the research and evidence showing that loneliness and stress can be significantly reduced through exercise, the disabled are left out. They do not have access to these social facilities, which would otherwise make them healthier and more stable.
Disabled Lack of Access
The disabled in society lack access to social fitness groups, local sports, exercise facilities, appropriate equipment, and trained personnel. Most of the disabled persons are left with few alternatives since they have no access to the grounds or simple equipment such as a hand-cycle (Hernon et al., 2015). Research has also indicated that accessing some of these items such as the hand-cycle means spending five or more times the money used to purchase a standard bicycle. The escalated prices of these items make the disabled want to live in a separate world, where they will find people who care about their special needs and create opportunities for them to seize. Hotels and guest houses may have a room especially for the disabled, but 90% of these hotels do not have a family room that is accessible by the disabled (Harasemiw et al., 2018). This pushes some of the disabled with families to think about how cruel life can be by not supporting them to have families of their own and the ability to lead a healthy life. The few available rooms in hotels or cruise liners are superior and only accessible at exorbitant rates compared to standard rooms, thus making them impossible for the disabled to afford.
According to the BBC News in 2018, the U.K. announced a loneliness minister, responsible for the young, elderly and the disabled. The politicians, leaders, and policymakers need to recognize the extra time, cost, and time required to come up with structures that are fully accessible to the disabled and their families (Grue, 2016). Academia, policymakers, and politicians need to find a way of making it easier for disabled people to raise families and become a viable part of society.
The domestic network is comparatively present from childhood through youth to old age, but individual relationship networks decrease during maturity. Connections shrink when people experience cognitive or functional problems. Many older adults develop dementia or cognitive decline, which affects their associations with other adults. Once disabled, people no longer perform duties as before; once their functionality declines, they lose touch with those still healthy and able (Hernon et al., 2015). If an accident happens and one becomes disabled, they are replaced at their places of work since they cannot perform at prior levels. Their workmates isolate some, and their old friends lose touch, leaving them lonely and stressed.
Everyone assumes that a family takes care of their own if disabled, but it is prudent to learn that people enjoy external friendships too and require them as well. People look at the disabled with pity, but they fail to address the prejudice, equity, and inclusion issues that these individuals battle on daily occasions (Warner & Adams, 2016). There exist barriers to full social participation for the disabled. Stigma, stereotypes, public arrogance, and a lack of discernment creates these barriers and influences others negatively.
Social Comparison and Self-Identity
Society greatly shapes our feelings and views such that individuals, including the disabled, will only react and behave according to the standards set by the public. Self-identity refers to the ability to defy all odds and understand the position that one is in and how to handle such situations regardless of the environment, peer pressure, or comparison (Söderström, 2016). Self-identity is powerfully influenced by negative images and stereotypes, which govern ways in which an individual views not only himself but others and the world. Social comparison is the way people evaluate their positions by comparing their situations with that of others (Harasemiw et al., 2018). The disabled often fall into loneliness quickly because they have compared themselves with the abled. That comparison pushes them to feel guilty when they cannot socialize at meetings, parties, and events with their abled friends because of their disability. The social comparison also makes them feel inferior to the abled, thus many fail to attempt challenges in life, such as a career or sports. The consistency of self-identity is very dependent on one's social interactions. When one fails to interact positively with people in society, they lose their original position (Hine & Mitchell, 2017). They no longer view themselves as healthy but disabled. They only see how unfit they are in society, which makes them feel lonely and pushes them to the edge of depression especially when they lack or have a poor support system. In addition to feeling depression, the socially isolated individual is frequently beset with anxiety disorders which further reinforce a negative self-identity.
Loneliness and disability isolation have become a menace and require immediate attention from policymakers, world leaders, and global health practitioners. Some of the interventions suggested by researchers include group interventions, internet usage, and service provision (Hine & Mitchell, 2017). Tele-conferencing is a modern and cost-effective strategy of mitigating loneliness and bringing people together in geographically isolated regions (Hernon et al., 2015). Parents who are disabled and wish to communicate with their children who are schooling or working away from home can do so through video conferencing. Support groups, including friendship and educational groups, have performed well in dealing with loneliness, among other social issues.
According to Holanda et al. (2015), social groups help in reducing isolation as they create an environment of inclusivity. Disabled persons, especially those feeling isolated, should engage in social groups for a period of not less than six months. It is through these social groups that disabled persons can share their unique stories and encourage others not to give up. This goes a long way in ensuring disabled persons accept their situation and learn how to cope with the challenges by incorporating advice and life skills shared by other members of their social groups. The only limitation for this effect is that social groups work only for those who have the necessary skills and ability to join them hence they may not work for everyone.
Mentally challenged people may not find substantial help in a social group because they do not have the necessary abilities to relate with others in the group. An active social group can engage the disabled in many activities, including community building activities, which will help set up a platform for them to feel useful again. Community support services, especially those that contribute to the health and well-being of people, make them feel better. For those who want to become less socially isolated, joining retirement villages could be the way to go. Churches and other social organizations have set up areas for disabled people to meet up and interact with each other as well as receive medical attention and social care.
The adoption rates of social network sites among people living with disabilities have increased significantly over the past years. With a broader population having access to the internet, social media is rampantly being used for communication, co-creation, sharing, and modification of content. Social media is adopted as a tool with the potential to mediate loneliness among the disabled. The attitude of the disabled towards social media depends on their ability to positively use it for their good (Hine & Mitchell, 2017). Many of the disabled lose touch with the world and are no longer interested in using other media devices such as televisions and radios. However, a day spent on social media brings joy to these individuals when they connect with others through different social media platforms. One can use social media to interact with people and make new friends from all over the world using applications such as Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram (Alhaboby et al., 2016). YouTube is an avenue that the disabled can use to learn through watching videos on exercising, riding bicycles, along with other activities.
Through social media, one gets inspired, seeing other disabled people making statements and achieving milestones in the world. Social media promotes the social welfare of an individual and helps them to overcome loneliness (Holanda et al., 2015). Many people today perceive social media as a necessity; everyone needs it for socializing and connecting with the world, and so do the disabled. These online platforms provide places where individuals living with disabilities will not be judged, mainly if they do not express their disability (Khosravi, Rezvani & Wiewiora, 2016). However, on the flip side, people from all walks of life are on social media. Bullies may take the opportunity to despise the disabled people on online platforms. However, when faced with such a situation, disabled people should stand up for their rights and report any form of disability harassment to the relevant authorities. Due to such abuse, most social media platforms, including Facebook, have implemented new terms and conditions that prohibit cyber bullying and unethical behavior.
The popularity and influence of the internet have revolutionized disability rights movements across the world, giving voice and hope to many people living with disabilities. Some of the learned disabled friends have become columnists, online disability champions, and human rights activists, shedding light to the world about the rights and privileges of the disabled persons. Attitudes against the disabled will not change overnight, which calls for continued championing of positive reinforcement (Alhaboby et al., 2016). The disabled are reminded not to fight a losing battle with a focus on the negatives of their disability but to accept and learn meaningful strategies of coping with their situation.
Social isolation leads to loneliness and affects people with disabilities more than the abled. Most of the people living with disabilities lack social or emotional contact with friends or society. Lacking social contact has consequences such as negative self-esteem, low self-confidence, loneliness, and conflicts with families and friends. The life expectancy of the disabled is lower since they do not lead a quality life; they are affected emotionally, psychologically, and socially. A significant percentage of them attempt suicide due to the pain of social isolation.
Supportive parents and families can educate their disabled children on how to develop social skills that will empower them to lead independent lives. Parents should put them through school and help them build a career. With support from family, a disabled child is likely to overcome bullying in school or in society. Special education services may help children with disabilities to manage their conditions more positively. The IDEA points out that all schools, as directed by the law, should offer free and appropriate learning to every child, even the disabled. The disabled children are eligible for services that level the playing field and equip them with resources that help them reach the universal goals set for their age and grade level. Treating all people the same regardless of their physical, mental, or psychological challenge makes the world a better place for all. When the disabled parties find the attention, love, and care from the world, they lead a more fulfilled life, find love, and get a family just like the abled. Some become scholars and publish books raising awareness about the rights of the disabled and the opportunities they would need. Some countries have ensured inclusivity of the disabled by nominating a member to parliament and leaving 30% of all government offices to be filled by the marginalized groups. Social media is addressed in this paper as the most influential tool used by the public and specifically the disabled to raise awareness about their challenges.
Alhaboby, Z. A., al-Khateeb, H. M., Barnes, J., & Short, E. (2016). ‘The language is disgusting and they refer to my disability’: the cyberharassment of disabled people. Disability & Society, 31(8), 1138-1143.
Grootegoed, E., & Tonkens, E. (2017). Disabled and elderly citizens' perceptions and experiences of voluntarism as an alternative to publicaly financed care in the Netherlands. Health & social care in the community, 25(1), 234-242.
Grue, J. (2016). The social meaning of disability: a reflection on categorisation, stigma and identity. Sociology of health & illness, 38(6), 957-964.
Harasemiw, O., Newall, N., Shooshtari, S., Mackenzie, C., & Menec, V. (2018). From social integration to social isolation: The relationship between social network types and perceived availability of social support in a national sample of older Canadians. Research on aging, 40(8), 715-739.
Hernon, J., Brandon, M., Cossar, J., & Shakespeare, T. (2015). Recognising and responding to the maltreatment of disabled children: A children’s rights approach. Social Work and Social Sciences Review, 17(2), 22-56.
Hine, J., & Mitchell, F. (2017). Transport disadvantage and social exclusion: exclusionary mechanisms in transport in urban Scotland. Routledge.
Holanda, C. M. D. A., Andrade, F. L. J. P. D., Bezerra, M. A., Nascimento, J. P. D. S., Neves, R. D. F., Alves, S. B., & Ribeiro, K. S. Q. S. (2015). Support networks and people with physical disabilities: social inclusion and access to health services. Ciência & Saúde Coletiva, 20, 175-184.
Khosravi, P., Rezvani, A., & Wiewiora, A. (2016). The impact of technology on older adults’ social isolation. Computers in Human Behavior, 63, 594-603.
Macdonald, S. J., Deacon, L., Nixon, J., Akintola, A., Gillingham, A., Kent, J., ... & Dore, S. (2018). ‘The invisible enemy’: disability, loneliness and isolation. Disability & Society, 33(7), 1138-1159.
Söderström, S. (2016). Socio-material practices in classrooms that lead to the social participation or social isolation of disabled pupils. Scandinavian Journal of Disability Research, 18(2), 95-105.
Warner, D. F., & Adams, S. A. (2016). Physical disability and increased loneliness among married older adults: The role of changing social relations. Society and mental health, 6(2), 106-128.
Literature Review: Population and Business Dynamics
Solicitation # 73351019Q0066
Cogentica: Dr. Rob Akins & Stephanie Rey
Literature reviews in conjunction with analysis on the dynamics of commerce and the population can provide a significant factorial element into the understanding of the business platforms and how the implications of aging can affect new age businesses across the United States. Building upon the index of knowledge, research can provide contributions to science in a plausible way that even exhibits a predictable forecast of relationships between the two dynamics of business and the population. As the populace continues to age, and the decrease in the number of members in a family, along with the rise of disabilities, research warrants an observation into the common denominators of why workforce labor markets are potentially diminishing causing a direct effect on new age commerce. The purpose of this literature review is to present a summary of the current trends, with respects to the implications of aging on business ventures causing a dynamic shift in entrepreneurship of new age companies.
The average age of existing communities appears to be on the rise. More specifically noted is older adults nearing or entering the retirement years of their life and this includes the baby boomers. This is due to many influences, such as the rise of technology in the health care industry, including pharmaceuticals, that are increasing the livelihood of veterans, adults and those with disabilities. Some of these individuals are no longer in the work force and contributing to the expansion of new businesses in the community. As with many types of research studies, there are plausible factors that may include the impact of aging due to disabilities and death which also influences the shift in business dynamics.
According to the 2018 Annual Report on People with Disabilities in America, published by the Institute on Disability, the percentage of persons in the United States with a disability in 2017 is 13.2 percent. This is a significant increase of 0.5 percent since 2008, when the percentage was 12.7. Unfortunately, based on this same report, the percentage of people with disabilities who were employed was 37.4 percent in 2008 and only 35.5 percent in 2017, a significant decrease of 1.9 percent. Due to some type of physical or psychological limitation, considered a disability, this can also have an impact on the decline in workforce capabilities. Those with disabilities that are in the work force most likely require specific accommodations in their work environment to include evaluations and specialized training that accommodates to their specific disability.
Baby boomers are well into their retirement years which also affects the dynamics of the workforce by not producing commerce. However, the baby boomers support the economic factors in the community as a one of the driving forces for sales reflecting growth in the economy. The retirement populous is taking valuable knowledge, skills and experience with them that the younger generation is lacking. Younger generations are prolonging work with multiple years in school, whether in a trade or traditional college, thereby temporarily impacting the diminishing factor of the labor force (Frees, 2006). This includes the younger generation relocating to metropolis areas to accommodate better finances and benefits to start and raise their family. As a subsidiary to these attributes, women in general are waiting until later in life to have children to focus on their career which influences low birth rates in the communities. Due to these sociodemographic attributes, the relationship of recruiting versus new business growth is on a decline.
It is a known fact that the United States have imported product and services for decades. One of the main reasons for this trade is that labor is done at a fraction of the cost versus labor here in the United States which ultimately affects the commercial market. Over the span of approximately thirty years, there was a loss of 7.9 million manufacturing type jobs, which equates to about forty-two percent of the baseline in the market due to the recessional era (Wolman & Stokan, 2015). Current business trends promote intermediaries that can access many types of platforms, like television and social media, to promote and market a product or service in an ecommerce environment.
Different types of analysis and modeling can provide valuable insight into predictions which can help businesses understand their projection rate. Research can help companies establish a vision and market pathway to sustain business in a complex atmosphere of competition. Forecasting is a particular type of statistical tool that provides a glimpse into predicted distributions (Kashkooki, M., 2018) so that the shift in dynamics can be quantitatively monitored and businesses can alter the company model for trend purposes. Current businesses have to be creative in the promotion of their product or service. Technology plays a significant role in reaching out to a broader population of consumers, not only in promoting products, but also utilizing surveys to understand the thought process of people making purchases so that companies can use that information to stay ahead of the market race.
The dynamics of business may have a rise in rebranding or even relocating to a more metropolis area to maintain a running factor in commercial business by appealing to a younger generation. Changing a company brand can provide a shift in the consumers image of a company and the impression of their product. Those businesses that undermine the younger populous could face a detriment in sales or even shut down. The younger generation also has an impact on the shift in business dynamics due to the rising use of the internet ecommerce purchasing causing a decline in companies with longevity by downsizing and even closing businesses. An evident correlation between population and business dynamics is the link of technology to offer technical support in many companies.
In conclusion, the contribution of research on the decline of population and the shift in the work force provides an understanding of the lack of new business growth in the United States. Due to individuals with disability limitations, including veterans, the decline in the work force may have a responsibility in the dynamic shift of business. Baby boomers and the younger generation can cohesively have a major influence on work force decline due to multiple factors such as retirement and education. Through the use of statistical analysis, companies can pull trends and patterns that can drive future growth of a product and ultimately business success. The younger generation has the potential to drive the modification in company organization, structure, and branding by influencing the consumer purchasing habits.
Frees, E. W. (2006). Forecasting Labor Force Participation Rates. Journal of Official Statistics, 22(3), 453–485
Kashkooli, Maryam, "Forecasting Labor Force Participation at the Regional Level in the United States: The Case of Maine" (2018). Honors College. 344. https://digitalcommons.library.umaine.edu/honors/344
Wolman, H. (Hal), Stokan, E., & Wial, H. (2015). Manufacturing Job Loss in U.S. Deindustrialized Regions—Its Consequences and Implications for the Future: Examining the Conventional Wisdom. Economic Development Quarterly, 29(2), 102–112
Dynamics Within the Disabled Workforce and Employing Businesses
and the Implications for Future Research
One of the hopes of individuals with disabilities is that the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and 2008 (hereafter referred to as ADA) will help prevent discrimination in the workplace during the hiring and promotion process. There are multiple definitions of disability in the literature, so the ADA specifically defined disability in the code based on numerous rulings in the courts. It is quite a lengthy definition and will not be given here but one can review section 4 of the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 for the complete definition.
For the remainder of this paper, we will use the definition of disability used by the American Community Survey, which is based on six survey questions addressing hearing difficulty, vision difficulty, cognitive difficulty, ambulatory difficulty, self-care difficulty, and independent living difficulty. These same questions have been used on the survey since 2008. This provides a useful continuity when comparing different databases that use this definition. However, one should take care in comparing the disability rates shown in this paper to disability rates using different definitions since the numbers can be quite different.
According to the 2018 Annual Report on People with Disabilities in America, published by the Institute on Disability, the percentage of persons in the United States with a disability in 2017 is 13.2 percent. This is a significant increase of 0.5 percent since 2008, when the percentage was 12.7. This leads to the question of whether there has been a corresponding increase in the number of disabled people employed in the US.
Unfortunately, based on this same report, the percentage of people with disabilities who were employed was 37.4 percent in 2008 and only 35.5 percent in 2017, a significant decrease of 1.9 percent. Although the percentage of individuals without disabilities also decreased during this period from 76.9 percent to 76.5 percent, the decrease of 0.4 percent is not statistically significant.
Why aren’t we seeing more improvement in the employment rates of the disabled? It has been 28 years since the passage of the ADA. Perhaps some of the answers lie in the culture of the business. A recent article (2017) in Inc. titled “Survey: Only 28 Percent of Companies Have Disability Hiring Goals” suggests one reason. The article further states that almost 60 percent of companies have hiring goals for other types of diversity. A comprehensive study by Kaye, Jans, and Jones (2011) titled “Why Don’t Employers Hire and Retain Workers with Disabilities?”, casts more light on the problems in company culture with regard to individuals with disabilities. Based on questionnaires completed by 463 respondents (human resource professionals and managers), the top five reasons for not hiring individuals with disabilities included 1) worries of the cost of providing accommodations, 2) not knowing how to deal with the needs of a worker with a disability, 3) being afraid of firing or disciplining a disabled worker for poor performance for fear of being sued, 4) not knowing how to assess the worker’s fit to the job because of the law not allowing them to ask about the applicant’s disability, and 5) concerns of the amount of time required by supervisors and other workers in helping the worker with the disability.
Stereotypes and Their Impact on Disabled People
Stereotypes and Their Impact on Disabled People
A stereotype refers to a widely held yet fixed image, idea, or opinion about a person or a group of people. Stereotypes usually have no factual groundings, therefore cannot be pronounced true or false in an articulate or persuasive sense. Such ideas or images are prejudicial in nature since the ideas attributed to an individual or group of people are invalid with respect to reality parameters. Almost every group of people that share similar characteristics or values are linked to some sort of a perceived idea or opinion by others in their society. Stereotypes can be negative or positive. Leyens, Yzerbyt, & Schadron (2017), argue that negative stereotypes are detrimental to the psyche of individuals, especially if they are voiced by others in their presence. Psychological studies have established that negative stereotypes have a negative impact to individuals, particularly the marginalized members of the society such as disabled people.
The disabled form a significant minority in society. An individual can be physically or mentally challenged. Some popular culture images affect and reflect on the attitudes of people. Different representations of disability often show contemptuous ideas in the fields of psychology, medicine, social settings and management, as well as religion. However, it should be noted that such ideas are affected by assumptions salient in fictional narratives and popular images in various social constructs. Such pictures about disability are not easily mistaken in a simple way since each contains elements of experiential truth arising from the encounter between a disabled and an able-bodied individual. In their book about the needs of Individuals with disabilities, Foster & Nuttgens (2016) note that disabled people are different from the rest of the population in the sense that they are different or limited in some form. One stereotype causes one or more negative impact to the victim. Whereas the impacts can be assessed in short-term periods, the influences of stereotypes to the disabled are long-term and affect the personal and social life of an individual. To compressively discuss the negative impacts of stereotypes to the lives of the disabled people, it is worthwhile to highlight and explain in details the attitudes attributed to them (disabled). The following are the commonest ideas or beliefs linked to people experiencing disability in nature.
1. Disability is Inability
The above prejudice about the disabled cuts across a wide range of social constructions. Foremost, the incapacitated people are assumed incapable of competently performing a task. Worse is that this belief is held by a large percentage of people. A minute percentage of people can trust that that an individual people are competent to do any work. Ironically, the small number of people who trust in the capability of the disabled approach with doubts and suspicion. Once an individual is treated with suspicion, they are never perfect in the eyes of authority (Fiske & Durante, 2016). Thus, no measure of their efforts is considered to have attained the required threshold. Such is the fate of the disabled.
2. The Disabled are worthy Pity
Disability is perceived as personal tragedy and a misfortune to the family and the entire society. Victims of disability are viewed as tragic figures who deserve pity in any social construct. A much derogative attitude is that the disabled individuals are unending burdens to their family members, friends, relatives, and sometimes even the government (Clément-Guillotin, Rohmer, Forestier, Guillotin, Deshayes, & d’Arripe-Longueville, 2018). A majority of the society member see that a life of disability is a pool of constant and unending sufferings, sorrow, and apathy. The disabled are the objects of charity to their family members, always arising feelings of kindness as well as generosity. Their presence awaken and inspire benevolence among the member of the society, a fact that acts as a reminder of a continuous obligation to care for the vulnerable.
3. The Disabled cannot lead a Good Life
There is a persistent assumption that the individuals experiencing disability are vulnerable to compromised quality of life. For example, they are seen as incapable of making and running a family. Their failure to lead good quality life is approached from the socio-economic perspectives. For instance, the physically impaired face numerous challenges when taken to perform a mechanically involving job (Clément-Guillotin et al, 2018). Their limited chances of getting and executing an economic task lays the grounds of the belief that they live miserable lives. This idea is, nevertheless, highly disputed as some critics maintain that the disabled population in are equally capable of participating in community affairs in the same magnitude as the abled.
4. The Disabled are Always Sick and in Pain
Most people in society maintain that people with disabilities are in constant agony. Such an observation implies that the disability is a sickness or some special kind of abnormality that needs to be corrected. (Lejzerowicz, 2017). Those individuals who portray minimal or no signs of recovery irrespective of any treatment are perceived as tragic disabilities. Nonetheless, a disabled individual is also treated as a superhuman who triumphs over adversities in a special way as opposed to the common members of the society. The impairment characteristic of the disabled gives them a chance to explore abilities hidden from the common course of normal persons in the society, a fact that gives them courage and confidence to claim their importance in the society.
5. The Disabled People are Dependent
Individuals suffering from mental or physical impairment in the society are often considered unable to fully cater for their affairs. A concrete example is a physically impaired person with dysfunctional limbs. Such a person requires an assistant to ensure they perform physical activities such as walking or bathing (Lejzerowicz, 2017). Additionally, the disabled are economically independent. It is the obligation of family and other members of the society to stand as the well-wishers to provide the basics such as food and clothing.
6. People with a Disability are Menace
The disabled are considered to pose threat and instill fear to members of the society. For instance, handicapped people instill economic threat to community members. People always mind their financial stability whenever they are confronted with a disability case. On the other hand, the mentally individuals are feared by a large number of persons in the society. According to Lejzerowicz (2017), it is assumed that their abnormality deprives them of the moral sense of judging between the right and the wrong. As are result, they are incapable of rational thinking. Consequently, they are perceived as objects for causing harm to others, oblivious of the magnitude of the physical and psychological injury they cause. Whereas this opinion is dominant among several people, individuals with cognitive impairments are perceived as innocent, holy, and endowed with special gifts. Such gifts enable them to gracefully serve and inspire others, by constantly preaching the need to observe the sanctity of life irrespective of physical or psychological appearance of an individuals. A common affiliation of this belief is that the disabled are given special powers and strengths to compensate for situation, and perform tasks beyond ordinary measures.
Negative Influences of Stereotypes on the Lives of the Disabled People and their Families
Prejudices accorded to the individuals with mental and physical impairments are harmful to the lives of the victims. Although the impacts are directly received by the disabled their influences are felt by the family members who share a better part of life caring for the handicapped. The following are some of the most pronounced detrimental effects of stereotypes.
1. Low Self-esteem
The negative stereotypes directed to the disabled people make them suffer from inferiority complex. The individuals feel inadequate and unworthy in identifying themselves with some aspects of life, or believe that they are incapable of performing some tasks. This feeling, which subsequently develops into a belief, lowers the person’s self-esteem. The victim stops believing in their abilities and talents. As a result, they are less enthusiastic in life. As observed in the social psychology of childhood disability by Thomas (2015), a person who experiences low self-esteem leads unfulfilling lives since they never exploit their full potential. Minimal self-esteem produces an apathetic individual, insensitive and indifferent in various life contexts. In addition, the individual is disinterested in events that are self-satisfying, because they belief they are not worthy. Besides, the family members are unhappy as a result of the remarks given by people about their disabled siblings, parents, or offspring. They are also less confident in social contexts whenever they talking about their disabled members. They subsequently refrain from talking about them in social domains.
2. Social Isolation
Owing to the negative attitudes linked to the disabled fraternity, the victims perceive a feeling of rejection. The physically or mentally impaired individuals avoid social places and events such as ceremonies because of a belief of misrepresentation, and negative reactions they are likely to receive from people. A more serious observation is that they believe people are going to treat them in a demeaning way because they don’t appear the same. In the long-run, a disabled distances themselves from the general affairs of the society. It causes them to alienate themselves from physical contact with other people. The disabled find comfort and solace in their own world, far from that of other members of the society. Social isolation is a retrogressive aspect since it denies a person a chance to interact with others (Murrock, & Graor, 2016). Limited interaction with members of the society also deprives an individual the opportunities of realizing and nurturing their talents. Consequently, a victim of social isolation spends an unaccomplished. Moreover, it deprives a person of the sense of happiness derived from the virtue that human beings are naturally social creatures. Self-isolation could also arise from the fact that victim’s ego is suppressed, thus do not feel sufficient in joining the usual social domains. Moreover, the individuals perceive themselves as special, hence the need to distance themselves from the common social course in the society.
From a general standpoint, depression is a severe feeling of dejection and despondency. It implies a stressful life characterized by weird thoughts injurious to the psychological aspect of an individual. Murrock, & Graor (2016) suggests that Depression is directly linked to social isolation. Stereotypes make the disabled feel dejected. Some stereotypes such as seeing the disabled as the burdens to the society result in unhappiness and feelings of sorrow. The impaired individuals spend their lives characterized by a high degree of melancholy. Additionally, stereotypes cause hopelessness among the victims. For example, when an idea that implies that they are incapable of owning their families and lead a good life, they are discouraged from pursuing opportunities that can change their lives, thus they spend a better part of their lives in misery.
4. Actual Changes in Brain
Once the stereotypes cause depression to the disabled persons, the functional capacity of the brain in interfered with. Images from the brain show establish that the brain regions responsible for decision making, memory, and mood are susceptible to change in both size and function as a result of exposures to depressive situations. For example, the prefrontal cortex, a major structure of memory, decision making, and emotional regulation is likely to shrink as consequence of depression. A research conducted by Bruce s. McEwen, MD. on stress, depression, and brain structure infer that excessive stress enlarges Amygdala part of the brain (MacEwen, 2015)..
5. Decreased Lifespan
Individuals suffering from disability are vulnerable to short lifespan as a result of subjection to stereotypes. Decrease in life expectancy occurs due to consequences such as stress, depression, social alienation, and low self-esteem. The susceptible population also has limited access to social facilities that improve the quality of lives of people. Another important point to note about the disabled is that their health is at risk because they do not always get enough resources sufficient to provide all their needs. For example, they lack proper diet consistent with their conditions, especially if their economic background is poor. Due to several moments of loneliness experienced by the victims of disabled stereotypes, their brain functionality is adversely affected. Such effects lowers the efficiency of the organs controlled by the brain, which (the organs) perform involuntary activities such as excretion and homeostasis. Compromised organ functionality lowers an individual’s lifespan. Lastly, the victims fear to access health facilities such as hospitals as they are suspicious that people will make fun and humiliating remarks about their physical or mental condition.
Disabled people who experience humiliating stereotypes suffer social stigma. As such, they may come to hate their condition, develop self-hatred and subsequent suicidal feelings. Having lost the meaning and the value of life, a person exposes themselves to attempts of self-murder/suicide, culminating to their death.
The Disabled population in the society are stereotyped because they are perceived as individuals with abnormalities. There special conditions is attributed to various attitudes, most of which are negative. For example, people consider their disability as incapability to execute various tasks and roles in the society. secondly, the society view them as objects of pity who require constant care and acts of mercy, kindness and generosity, a factor that portrays them as a burden in a socio-economic dimension. They are thus socially and economically dependent on family, relatives, friends, and the entire community. Besides, the disabled are associated with inability to spend good life or possess a family due to the idea that they are always sick and in constant agony. Unfortunately, individuals with impairments are seen as economic and social threats, who are dangerous and can likely cause harm to others. All the above attitudes are detrimental to the lives of the victims as they lead to low self-esteem, social isolation, and depression. The stereotypes further influence the lives of the disabled people negatively since they cause changes in size and function of their brains, reduced lifespan, and death.
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