Dating persons with physical disabilities: The perceptions of South Africans without disabilities

Article


Hunt, Xanthe, Swartz, Leslie, Carew, Mark Thomas, Braathen, Stine Hellum, Chiwaula, Mussa and Rohleder, P. 2017. Dating persons with physical disabilities: The perceptions of South Africans without disabilities. Culture, Health and Sexuality. 20 (2), pp. 141-155.
AuthorsHunt, Xanthe, Swartz, Leslie, Carew, Mark Thomas, Braathen, Stine Hellum, Chiwaula, Mussa and Rohleder, P.
Abstract

There is good reason to believe that the attitudes of persons without disability towards dating a person with a physical disability might be unfavourable. However, in general, and in the Global South in particular, there is a dearth of research in this area. This study sought to take the first step in addressing this lack of enquiry, by surveying the attitudes of a general population sample in South Africa towards dating people with physical disabilities, using a vignette. Data from 1,723 survey respondents were analysed thematically. Findings reveal largely negative attitudes towards people with physical disabilities. Respondents without disability perceived numerous barriers to dating a person with a physical disability, including social stigma, anxiety, and concerns about the burden of care they believed such a relationship would place upon them. However, there was some evidence to suggest that some positive attitudes do exist, and a few respondents were open to dating a person with physical disabilities. Findings contribute to a nuancing and expanding of the ‘myth of asexuality’ among physically disabled people by showing that people with physical disabilities are actively desexualised by persons without disability. Future research is needed to explore how the inclusive attitudes, of which we did find evidence here, can be further cultivated.

Keywordsdisability; dating beliefs; contact theory; social exclusion; prejudice; South Africa
JournalCulture, Health and Sexuality
Journal citation20 (2), pp. 141-155
ISSN1369-1058
1464-5351
Year2017
PublisherTaylor & Francis (Routledge)
Accepted author manuscript
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1080/13691058.2017.1334964
Web address (URL)https://doi.org/10.1080/13691058.2017.1334964
Publication dates
Online21 Jun 2017
Publication process dates
Deposited08 Jun 2017
Accepted23 May 2017
Accepted23 May 2017
Copyright information© 2017 Taylor & Francis. This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Culture, Health and Sexuality on 21/06/2017, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/13691058.2017.1334964
Additional information

Title may not exactly replicate the final version published in the journal as Hunt, X., Carew, M., Braathen, S., Swartz, L., Chiwaula, M., &Rohleder, P. (in press). “All he meant was being nice out of pity”: Non-disabled South Africans’ narratives about dating persons with physical disabilities. Culture, Health & Sexuality.

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