Exploring Stereotypes of Athletes With a Disability: A Behaviors From Intergroup Affect and Stereotypes Map Comparison

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Identifying as a regular exerciser has been found to effectively alter stereotypes related to warmth and competence for adults with a physical disability; however, it remains unclear how sport participation can influence this trend. Therefore, this study aimed to examine warmth and competence perceptions of adults with a physical disability portrayed as elite and nonelite athletes relative to other athletic and nonathletic subgroups of adults with and without a physical disability in the context of the stereotype content model. Using survey data from able-bodied participants (N = 302), cluster analyses were applied to a behaviors from intergroup affect and stereotypes map for displaying the intersection of warmth and competence perceptions. The results demonstrated that adults with a physical disability who are described as elite athletes (i.e., Paralympians) are clustered with high warmth and high competence, similar to their able-bodied athletic counterparts (i.e., Olympians). The findings suggest that perceiving athletic and elite sport statuses for adults with a physical disability may counter the stereotypes commonly applied to this group.

Stone and Latimer-Cheung are with the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies, and MacDonald, the Dept. of Psychology, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON, Canada. Sweet is with the Dept. of Kinesiology and Physical Education, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada. Perrier is with the Dept. of Kinesiology, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada. Martin Ginis is with the Dept. of Medicine, School of Health & Exercise Sciences, International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries (ICORD), University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Stone (rachaelch.stone@gmail.ca) is corresponding author.
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