Disabled People’s Attitudes Toward Other Impairment Groups: A Hierarchy of Impairments

Deal, Mark
Disability & Society

This article seeks to explore, through the literature, the notion that a hierarchy of impairment exists from the perspectives of both disabled and non-disabled people. The literature suggests that disabled people, like non-disabled people, do not always wish to be associated with other impairment groups for a variety of complex reasons, including competing for scarce allocations of funding/resources, sexual attraction, stigma, etc. The article concludes that further research is required in relation to disabled people's attitudes toward other disabled people, in general, and other impairment groups. Such research would expand our knowledge with respect to the degree to which disabled people view themselves as a homogenous in-group, as a set of separate impairment groups, or viewing impairment as only one facet of identity. These findings would help the disability movement to achieve greater inclusiveness amongst different impairments.