This website does readability filtering of other pages. All styles, scripts, forms and ads are stripped. If you want your website excluded or have other feedback, use this form.

Young people with intellectual disabilities attending mainstream and segregated schooling: perceived stigma, social comparison and future aspirations - Cooney - 2006 - Journal of Intellectual Disability Research - Wiley Online Library

By continuing to browse this site you agree to us using cookies as described in About Cookies

Remove maintenance message
Journal of Intellectual Disability Research Explore this journal >

Young people with intellectual disabilities attending mainstream and segregated schooling: perceived stigma, social comparison and future aspirations


Dr Gayle Cooney, Section of Psychological Medicine, Division of Community Based Sciences, University of Glasgow, Gartnavel Royal Hospital, 1055 Great Western Road, Glasgow G12 0XH, UK (e-mail: [email protected]).


Background  Mainstream schooling is a key policy in the promotion of social inclusion of young people with learning disabilities. Yet there is limited evidence about the school experience of young people about to leave mainstream as compared with segregated education, and how it impacts on their relative view of self and future aspirations.

Methods  Sixty young people with mild to moderate intellectual disabilities in their final year of secondary school participated in this study. Twenty-eight individuals came from mainstream schools and 32 attended segregated school. They completed a series of self-report measures on perceptions of stigma, social comparison to a more disabled and non-disabled peer and the likelihood involved in attaining their future goals.

Results  The majority of participants from both groups reported experiencing stigmatized treatment in the local area where they lived. The mainstream group reported significant additional stigma at school. In terms of social comparisons, both groups compared themselves positively with a more disabled peer and with a non-disabled peer. While the mainstream pupils had more ambitious work-related aspirations, both groups felt it equally likely that they would attain their future goals. Although the participants from segregated schools came from significantly more deprived areas and had lower scores on tests of cognitive functioning, neither of these factors appeared to have an impact on their experience of stigma, social comparisons or future aspirations.

Conclusions  Irrespective of schooling environment, the young people appeared to be able to cope with the threats to their identities and retained a sense of optimism about their future. Nevertheless, negative treatment reported by the children was a serious source of concern and there is a need for schools to promote the emotional well-being of pupils with intellectual disabilities.

Continue reading full article


Article Information



Format Available

Full text: HTML | PDF

Request Permissions


  • aspirations;
  • intellectual disability;
  • schooling;
  • social comparison;
  • stigma

Publication History

  • Issue online: 13 April 2006
  • Version of record online: 16 January 2006
  • Accepted 4 April 2005

Related content

Articles related to the one you are viewing

Citing Literature

  • Number of times cited: 64
  1. 1Andrew Jahoda, Biza Stenfert Kroese, Carol Pert, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for People with Intellectual Disabilities, 2017, 9CrossRef
  2. 2Nicholas Andrew Hudson, Jennifer Hella Mrozik, Rose White, Kristian Northend, Steve Moore, Katherine Lister, Kelly Rayner, Community football teams for people with intellectual disabilities in secure settings: “They take you off the ward, it was like a nice day, and then you get like medals at the end”, Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 2017Wiley Online Library
  3. 3Jennifer Clegg, Christine Bigby, Debates about dedifferentiation: twenty-first century thinking about people with intellectual disabilities as distinct members of the disability group, Research and Practice in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 2017, 4, 1, 80CrossRef
  4. 4Donna Koller, Morgane Le Pouesard, Joanna Anneke Rummens, Defining Social Inclusion for Children with Disabilities: A Critical Literature Review, Children & Society, 2017Wiley Online Library
  5. 5Tatsuya Imai, Identity, Sexuality, and Relationships among Emerging Adults in the Digital Age, 2017, 40CrossRef
  6. 6Gary N. Siperstein, Lauren A. Summerill, Holly E. Jacobs, Jeffrey E. Stokes, Promoting Social Inclusion in High Schools Using a Schoolwide Approach, Inclusion, 2017, 5, 3, 173CrossRef
  7. 7Raghu Raghavan, Edward Griffin, Resilience in children and young people with intellectual disabilities: a review of literature, Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities, 2017, 11, 3, 86CrossRef
  8. 8James M. Kauffman, Dimitris Anastasiou, John W. Maag, Special Education at the Crossroad: An Identity Crisis and the Need for a Scientific Reconstruction, Exceptionality, 2017, 25, 2, 139CrossRef
  9. 9Clara O’Byrne, Orla Muldoon, Stigma, self-perception and social comparisons in young people with an intellectual disability, Irish Educational Studies, 2017, 36, 3, 307CrossRef
  10. 10Maria Pallisera, Judit Fullana, Carol Puyaltó, Montserrat Vilà, Changes and challenges in the transition to adulthood: views and experiences of young people with learning disabilities and their families, European Journal of Special Needs Education, 2016, 31, 3, 391CrossRef
  11. 11Dora Capozza, Gian Antonio Di Bernardo, Rossella Falvo, Renzo Vianello, Luca Calò, Individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities: Do educators assign them a fully human status?, Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 2016, 46, 9, 497Wiley Online Library
  12. 12Line LeBlanc, Marie Robert, Thierry Boyer, L’expérience de la stigmatisation du point de vue des personnes présentant une déficience intellectuelle ou un trouble de l’autisme : comprendre la présence ou non de l’auto-stigmatisation, Revue francophone de la déficience intellectuelle, 2016, 27, 75CrossRef
  13. 13R. Young, D. Dagnan, A. Jahoda, Leaving school: a comparison of the worries held by adolescents with and without intellectual disabilities, Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 2016, 60, 1, 9Wiley Online Library
  14. 14Annet De Vroey, Elke Struyf, Katja Petry, Secondary schools included: a literature review, International Journal of Inclusive Education, 2016, 20, 2, 109CrossRef
  15. 15Afia Ali, Michael King, Andre Strydom, Angela Hassiotis, Self-reported stigma and its association with socio-demographic factors and physical disability in people with intellectual disabilities: results from a cross-sectional study in England, Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 2016, 51, 3, 465CrossRef
  16. 16Louise Tuersley-Dixon, Norah Frederickson, Social inclusion of children with complex needs in mainstream: does visibility and severity of disability matter?, International Journal of Developmental Disabilities, 2016, 62, 2, 89CrossRef
  17. 17Jean-Francois Trani, Ellis Ballard, Juan B. Peña, Stigma of persons with disabilities in Afghanistan: Examining the pathways from stereotyping to mental distress, Social Science & Medicine, 2016, 153, 258CrossRef
  18. 18A. Ali, E. Kock, C. Molteno, N. Mfiki, M. King, A. Strydom, Ethnicity and self-reported experiences of stigma in adults with intellectual disability in Cape Town, South Africa, Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 2015, 59, 6, 530Wiley Online Library
  19. 19Keith Crnic, Cameron Neece, Handbook of Child Psychology and Developmental Science, 2015, 1Wiley Online Library
  20. 20Gwynnyth Llewellyn, Cathy Vaughan, Eric Emerson, Health Disparities and Intellectual Disabilities, 2015, 48, 43CrossRef

View all 64 citations

Close article support pane