Social and Interpersonal Reactions to Depression and Disability Academic Article uri icon


  • An analogue experiment was conducted to study reactions to an actor with a physical disability who behaved in either a depressed or socially appropriate manner in an interview. The physical appearance of the actor was also manipulated, so that the actor appeared at times to be nondisabled. Consistent with predictions, the actor was rated more favorably when he appeared disabled, and subjects had strong negative reactions to depressive behavior regardless of physical appearance. More important, subject attitudes toward persons with disability were affected by the interpersonal behavior of the target: Subjects evidenced more open, accepting attitudes toward persons with disability after viewing appropriate behavior by the actor, and subjects in the depressed disabled condition endorsed more stereotypic, negative attitudes. Results are discussed as they pertain to interpretations of ''kindness norm'' behavior and social models of depression.

published proceedings

  • Rehabilitation Psychology

altmetric score

  • 1

author list (cited authors)

  • Elliott, T. R., & Frank, R. G.

citation count

  • 23

complete list of authors

  • Elliott, Timothy R||Frank, Robert G

publication date

  • January 1990