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Justine J. Reel and Robert A. Bucciere

According to stigma theory, individuals with disabilities possess “discrediting attributes” that prevent them from meeting culturally constructed standards of beauty. An individual with a disability may find that his or her body is viewed as being somehow defective, deviant, or grotesque. Persons with disabilities feel that they are unable to achieve the societal ideal and that their masculinity or femininity may be questioned (Bucciere & Reel, 2009). As a result, individuals with physical and intellectual disabilities face a decreased sense of self worth, poor body image, and in some cases may be vulnerable to eating disorders.