Intergroup trust and anxiety: the two sides of stigma towards people with Down syndrome

Naira Delgado Rodríguez, Eva Ariño Mateo, Verónica Betancor Rodríguez, Armando Rodríguez-Pérez


People with Down syndrome experience a type of ambivalent stigmatisation, which combines stereotypes, emotional reactions, and both positive and negative attitudes. The aim of this study is to analyse the relationship between ambivalent attitudes towards people with Down syndrome, and the levels of intergroup trust and anxiety felt towards them. A total of 144 university students completed a questionnaire on their social perception of people with Down syndrome, indicating the extent to which they anticipate an interaction with this group based on trust or anxiety. The results show that responses to people with Down syndrome are ambivalent. Moreover, while intergroup trust is preceded by high levels of admiration and competence, intergroup anxiety is associated with high levels of aversion, compassion and low admiration. We discuss the implications of these results, taking into account how to enhance the social perception of people with Down syndrome, as well as the complex role of compassion in the assessment of stigmatised groups.


Down syndrome; stigmatisation; intergroup anxiety; compassion.

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