Rejecting the label: A social constructionist analysis

W.M.L. Finlay, Evanthia Lyons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


Research has shown that people often do not claim labels associated with mental retardation or learning difficulties. We discussed the interpretation that this rejection is an example of a denial process, the purpose of which is to protect self-esteem. Alternative explanations for this lack of identification were offered, based on an understanding of the socially constructed nature of diagnostic labels and on the distinction between diagnostic labels and social categories. Some of the problems in using the label as a descriptive or explanatory resource are illustrated using quotes from a study in which people who have been labeled discussed the label.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)120-134
Number of pages15
JournalAmerican Journal of Mental Retardation: AJMR
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Education
  • Health Professions(all)


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