An Appraisal-Based Approach to the Stigma of Walker-Use
- Cite this paper as:
- McNeill A., Coventry L. (2015) An Appraisal-Based Approach to the Stigma of Walker-Use. In: Zhou J., Salvendy G. (eds) Human Aspects of IT for the Aged Population. Design for Aging. ITAP 2015. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 9193. Springer, Cham
Walker-use among older adults is often avoided because of the stigma of using one. Drawing on the appraisal theory of stress, we argue that stigma associated with walker-use is subject to various cognitive appraisals that affect whether the user sees the walker as stigmatizing and the extent to which they can cope with that stigma. We followed a participatory design approach to involve older adults in the design of an intelligent walker. One of the activities was to conduct focus groups to explore the role of the aesthetic design of the product in acceptance and use of such walkers. Qualitative analysis of these focus groups provides data explaining the ways in which potential users assess stigma and coping resources. We emphasise that while better design of walkers is important, tackling the self-stigma of users and increasing their ability to cope with using one is equally important.