Orthopedic disability, conformity, and social support

Emda Orr, Ram D. Thein, Edna Aronson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The relation between physical disability, social support, and conformist behavior was tested in two studies. The first compared the conforming responses of persons who had orthopedic disabilities with those of able-bodied individuals and correlated perceived social support of those with the disability with their tendency to conform. The second was an experimental study in which university students made choices between actors who had disabilities and actors who were able bodied; orthopedic disability was signified by a person sitting in a wheelchair and social support by the choice of a teammate. Results showed that persons with disabilities (compared with those who were able bodied) reported a significantly higher tendency to conform and that this tendency was negatively related to reported levels of perceived social support. In the experimental study, conforming behaviors of both disabled and able-bodied actors elicited more social support than did assertive behaviors. The actors who had “disabilities” received less social support than those who were “able bodied,” but the former were considered more original when they did not conform. The findings imply that individuals with orthopedic disabilities are expected to conform but, although their conforming behavior elicits social support within specific encounters, it does not affect overall social support across encounters.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-219
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Psychology: Interdisciplinary and Applied
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)
  • Education
  • General Psychology


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